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PCB-122011

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Content

Electronics

Final Finishing
Universal Finish SolderBond (ENEPIG and ENEP)
for Soldering, Au-Wire and Cu-Wire Bonding
Process Flow
Cleaner
Pro Select UC

Pure

Pd

Micro Etch
MicroEtch C
Soldering

Au-wire wedge

Dip
Aurodip (Option)
Pre Dip

Al-wire wedge

Activator
Aurotech Activator 1000

Cu-wire wedge

Mean - 3x Std Dev (g)

Gold Wire Bond Pull Test
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1

Process
Pd Layer
Nickel µm
Pd µm
Au µm

Pd with Phosphorus 4-6 wt%

Qua
lif
& Sa ied for A
e
tellit
e Te rospace
chno
logy

Fine Line Post Dip
Aurotech FL Plus Post Dip
(Option)

Pure Pd

Gold
Bon Wire
d Fin
ish

Electroless Ni
Aurotech CNN mod.

ENEPIG UFSB ENEPIG UFSB ENEPIG UFSB ENEPIG UFSB ENEPIG UFSB ENEPIG UFSB
PdP
pure Pd
PdP
pure Pd
PdP
pure Pd
PdP
pure Pd
PdP
pure Pd
PdP
pure Pd
6.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
0.05
0.05
0.15
0.15
0.25
0.25
0.05
0.05
0.15
0.15
0.25
0.25
0.04
0.04
0.04
0.04
0.04
0.04
0.15
0.15
0.15
0.15
0.25
0.15

Electroless Pd
PD-Tech

Copp
e
B o n r Wire
d F in
is h

Immersion Au
Aurotech SF Plus

Universal Finish SolderBond provides also with low Au-thickness excellent
results, as pure Pd is 50% softer than Palladium-Phosphor (4-6wt%).
NiPdAu (ENEPIG)

NiPd (ENEP)

Deposit Structure
Electroless Nickel

4.0 μm - 6.0 μm

4.0 μm - 6.0 μm

Electroless Palladium

0.05 μm - 0.3 μm

0.2 μm - 0.3 μm

Immersion Au

0.02 μm - 0.06 μm

--

Functionality
Soldering
Eutectic Sn/Pb

Good

Good

Sn-Ag-Cu Alloy

Excellent

Excellent

Contact Switching

Yes

--

Al Wire Bonding

Yes

--

Au Wire Bonding

Yes

--

Cu Wire Bonding

--

Yes

Features and Bene ts
▪ Three finishes (ENIG, ENEPIG and ENEP) in one process
▪ ENEPIG is Au-wire and Al-wire bondable
▪ ENEP is Cu-wire bondable
▪ Wider Au-wire bond process window compared to ENEPIG
with PdP
▪ Pure Pd-layer without phosphorus co-deposition
▪ Pure Pd is 50% softer than PdP
▪ Superior solder joint reliability
▪ Excellent reliability regarding thermocycling, hot storage
test and humidity
▪ For wirebond processes of today and tomorrow

Atotech Headquarters · P.O. Box 21 07 80 · 10507 Berlin · Germany · www.atotech.com
Tel. +49 (0) 30-349 85-0 · Fax +49 (0) 30-349 85-777

2011: Wrap it up—we’ll take it!
Perhaps the 80s rock n’ roll band the Fabulous
Thunderbirds (with their 50’s-era retro look) were
referring to something other than PCBs with
their hit song, but in another context, it works.
We’re wrapping up 2011—a short calendar
year for The PCB Magazine, which debuted in
May—with a look back at the PCB industry with
the help of feature contributors from Mentor
Graphics and DownStream Technologies, as
well as several I-Connect007 columnists who’ve
stepped in to provide feature articles that provide
a comprehensive look at where in the world PCBs
have been this year and what they’ve been doing.
Not yet a subscriber to The PCB Magazine? Put
it on your wish list right now by clicking here to get
it delivered straight to your inbox every month.
December Feature Articles
David Wiens from Mentor Graphics takes a deep
look into The State of PCB Design, 2011, which
includes a market re-cap and reminder that PCB
design and fab showed signs of recovery, even as
the world economy wobbled.
Regular columnist John Coonrod (Lighting
Speed Laminates) moves into the feature article
zone with 2011 Material Highlights, focusing
on the state of high-speed digital applications,
which includes a sunny forecast for this type of PCB
technology heading into 2012.
In another departure from regular column
writing, PCBDesign007 columnist Abby Monaco
has provided The Year 2011, in Retrospect, which
includes a reassuring reminder that as difficult as it’s
been, history, which includes global economics, is
cyclical; in other words, this too shall pass.
Joining his fellow columnists-turned-featurewriters is long-time PCB007 tech columnist Karl
Dietz, with PCB Industry 2011—A Year in Review.
Dietz takes a close look at market fluctuations within

the PCB industry, from global PCB production statistics
to an examination of leading technology and process
advances.
Finally, DownStream Technologies’ Rick Almeida
provides an in-depth look at what he believes was one
of the most pivotal events to come along this year,
in his aptly titled, IPC-2581: Consortium Leads the
Way in 2011.
December Columns
In our columns department, regular contributors
don’t disappoint, including Gray McQuarrie (Solving
Your DAM Problems), Barry Olney (Beyond Design),
Mike Carano (Trouble in Your Tank), Steve Williams
(POV) and I-Connect007 Publishers Ray Rasmussen
(The Way I See It) and Barry Matties (The Sales
Cycle). All are on hand this month to provide their
insights and unique perspectives on a range of topics
from customer service to IPC to a lighthearted look at
online shopping.
Anything we’re forgetting?
Not, productronica, that’s for sure! Fresh out of
the video oven are compelling interviews from the
trade show floor in Munich. Check out this first batch
from a huge catalog of newly produced video content
that you’ll be seeing in the coming months in The
PCB Magazine. On hand this month—interviews with
Walt Custer, Atotech’s Dieter Walz, Joe Fjelstad
and atg Luther and Maelzer. Also, outgoing IPC
President and CEO Denny McGuirk has the perfect
vantage point for providing a glimpse into the global
association, in a retrospective of his tenure, A Dozen
Years at IPC: A Retrospective. OMG’s Patrick
Valentine also provides a technical article you can
really sink your teeth into, Understanding, Measuring
and Tracking Phosphorous in an Electroless Nickel
Bath.
2011….That’s a wrap! Happy Holidays and see
you next year!

December2011
2011••The
ThePCB
PCBMagazine
Magazine 3
3
December

introd u ction

The PCB Magazine has Gone Retro!
(With a look back at 2011!)

the Year
in Review

December 2011
contents

Volume 1
Number 9
the definitive
interactive magazine
dedicated to the
global PCb industry
thepcbmagazine.com

Features

Articles

the
y ear

22 The State of PCB Design, 2011

10 A Dozen Years at IPC: A Retrospective

36 2011 Material Highlights

62 Understanding, Measuring and Tracking

by David Wiens

by John Coonrod

46 The Year 2011, in Retrospect

by Denny McGuirk

Phosphorous in an Electroless Nickel Bath
by Patrick Valentine

by Abby Monaco

in

56 PCB Industry 2011—A Year in Review

review

60

by Karl H. Dietz

IPC-2581: Consortium Leads the Way in 2011
by Rick Almeida
Feature column

76 We Are Tired of Being Screwed!
by Barry Matties

19

Video Interviews
Walt Custer Interprets the Market

33 Atotech’s Walz on How

the European PCB Industry
has Stabilized

43 Flex and Stretch Conference in Berlin
54 productronica Evolves to Meet Expectations
Shorts

9 Bare Board Group Ranks on Tampa Bay Top 100
19 H&T Global Circuits New Sales Rep Partnership
33 IBIDEN Releases CSR Report 2011

columns

6 See Ya ‘Round, Denny
by Ray Rasmussen

14 Why Lean, Six Sigma and TOC

Methodologies will DAM Up Your Company
by Gray McQuarrie

28 Controlling the Beast
by Barry Olney

40 Voids: Part II

by Michael Carano

52 ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
by Steven Williams

News Highlights

20 Flex007 Highlights
34 PCBDesign007 Highlights
44 Supplier/New Product Highlights
55 MilAero007 Highlights
74 Top Ten Most-Read News Highlights
from PCB007 This Month

58 Schweizer Begins Diversification Strategy
73 Lazer-Tech Names Zaino Production Manager
77 Camtek Unveils Next-Gen AOI for PCB,
IC Substrates

4

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

Extras

78 Events Calendar
79 Advertisers Index & Masthead

s u mmar y
the way i see it
col u mn

See Ya ‘Round,
Denny

Denny McGuirk was a hands-off manager.
He let his managers do their own thing,
their own way. In my experience, that’s
one of the best ways to run a company.
Hire good people, support them, but more
importantly, get out of their way.

by Ray Rasmussen
I-Connect007

Twelve years is a
long time, I suppose.
These days, though,
time seems to be
flying by. Has it really
been 12 years since
Denny McGuirk
started at IPC? Wow!
He certainly couldn’t
have picked a more
interesting decade to
take the helm of an
electronics industry
association. Moreover,
in spite of all the changes, he still managed
to strengthen the IPC financially, while
expanding it globally to reflect the new Asiacentric nature of the industry. Of course, you
can’t give Denny all of the credit since he
was only following the directions of the IPC
Board.
Decades ago, IPC decided it was an
international association, to the consternation
of many (including me) who liked our world
just the way it was and certainly didn’t want
the rest of the world to catch on. Rightfully
so, the Board back then had a bigger vision
for IPC and they set in motion the plans for a
more global IPC.
I think it would be naive to suggest that
the shift to Asia was a result of IPC’s strategic
planning, which some have suggested.
Certainly, some transition of business was
inevitable; what caught most of us off-guard
was the speed and extent of that shift.
When Thom Dammrich left IPC to go
take on the luxury boat makers, it was either
dumb luck or insightful brilliance on his
part when he handed the reins to Denny
right before the dot-com bust, the industry’s
6

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

race to China and the
lead-free mandate.
I’m sure, more than
once, Denny had to be
saying, “What the heck
did I get myself into?”
Twelve years later,
here we are, and now
Denny’s moving on.
Working with SEMI
Going forward,
having Denny at SEMI
(it rhymes!) provides
a great opportunity for our industry to link
up. There have to be lots of connections
we can make to shore up supply chain gaps
(road maps), market studies, collaborative
conferences and much more. I’m excited.
Now we have a guy who knows a lot about
what we do and who can help us make those
connections. Denny at SEMI is a good thing.
Let’s milk it for all it’s worth!
Can’t Please Everyone
I’ve heard more than once that, unlike
Thom Dammrich before him, who liked to
keep his finger in all the pies, Denny was a
more hands-off manager. He liked to let his
team of managers do their own thing in their
own way. In my experience, that’s one of
the best ways to run a company. Hire good
people, support them, but more importantly,
get out of their way. However, this style ruffled
a lot of feathers along the way. Long-time
IPC supporters were no longer being coddled
and IPC managers were making decisions,
which weren’t necessarily in the veteran IPC
supporters’ best interests. I heard from quite of
a few of these disgruntled folks throughout the

see ya ‘round, denny continues
last few years. Although I believe I understand
both sides of the issue, I do think IPC should
have done a better job with, at least, some of
these supporters. They should have taken care
of them a bit better.
Now, having said that, I believe that very
few folks commit time and resources to IPC
just because they are good-natured. Most get
(got) a lot out of the relationship. Some of
the ruffled feathers were a result of losing a
cherished spot in a conference where they
typically generate significant amounts of
new consulting business. They felt slighted
personally and financially and they blamed
Denny for this. Denny backed his managers’
decisions, took the heat and moved on. Some
of them didn’t. That’s history now. We have a
lot to do; let’s focus on the future.
What Do We Want in a New
IPC President?
Let’s bring in a coddler, a diplomat who
can make everyone happy—NOT. Or, let’s get
someone with thick skin who can take IPC
up a couple notches in stature. I don’t want
just an administrator but, rather, a leader, a
creative mind, a visionary, a…Steve Jobs. My
personal goal is to be able to walk into
Barbara Boxer’s Senate office on Capitol Hill
Day and finally meet with her. That would
be cool. Not that it’s Barbara Boxer, but that
we would have the clout to get the attention
of this liberal senator. A meeting with
representatives from our industries would,
and should, be important to her. Or, when
some crazy electronics-free law comes down
from the EuroZone, we will finally have
enough industry and governmental respect to
be listened to and to stand our ground. Now
you’re talking.
I’ve talked to quite a few folks over the
last few years about IPC and, in particular,
Denny. If they didn’t have an ax to grind,
most liked him, including managers at IPC
(maybe they’ll change their tune once Denny
leaves). And the IPC Board members who
responded to my request for comments had
good things to say about Denny. Here are a few
comments from the current Board members.
They know Denny pretty well.
8

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

“Working with Denny over the last 10 years
has been a real pleasure. While we didn’t
always agree, Denny was always a straight
shooter, and you knew where he stood. He’s
done a lot to improve IPC. I’ll miss working
with him, but wish him all the best in his new
challenges at SEMI.”
—Bob Black, President and CEO, Juki
Automation Systems, IPC Board Member
“Under Denny’s leadership, we have seen
IPC establish the industry’s leading tradeshow
(IPC APEX Expo), create more standards for the
membership and have direct impact on the world
around us through lobbying efforts.
But most important has been Denny’s
consistent and unwavering belief that the members
come first and all decisions are based on whether
or not the members will benefit—this is what
has made IPC strong and viable in the electronics
industry.”
—Marc Peo, President, Heller Industries
“As Chairman of the IPC Board, it was my
pleasure to work closely with Denny on developing
the strategies and future plans for IPC. The
industry and the organization have been through
some difficult economic times and he made a
difference with his steadiness and commitment. He
has been the right man for the job and we have all
benefitted from his dedication.”
—Bob Ferguson, Chairman, IPC Board of
Directors, Executive Vice President, Electronic
Materials & North Asia, Avantor Performance
Materials

see ya ‘round, denny continues
“Denny was a true partner with the Board
in successfully navigating the transformation of
IPC from a regional organization into a global
trade association with members and influence
throughout the world. We wish him all the best
and will miss his leadership and integrity.”
—Joseph F. O’Neil, President, Hunter
Technology Corporation
“Denny is a real pro and provides strong
leadership.”
—Bhawnesh Mathur, CEO, Epic
Technologies
“Denny has very successfully piloted IPC
through some of the most turbulent times our
industry has ever experienced.”
—Peter Bigelow, President and CEO,
IMI, Inc.
Now, if Denny did such a horrible job,
as some have suggested, why didn’t these
Board members do something about it? Scroll
through the list again. Read the comments.
These guys aren’t pushovers. Sure, they may
have softened their comments a bit since
Denny is leaving. I get that. However, they
don’t seem like the kind of folks that would

put up with much crap. Logic suggests that
things were okay, or even pretty good, during
Denny’s tenure. Of course, as I said earlier,
you can’t please everyone.
So, we move on. Denny’s gone and a
new president will take the helm soon. For
those who think IPC needs new direction,
get involved or, at least, send a letter to the
editor and we’ll get your ideas out there for
the rest of the industry to chew on. A word
of caution: Let’s take it easy on Denny’s
successor. Remember, most people want to
do a good job. Further, if the Board does its
job, we’ll end up with a competent executive
to drive IPC for the next five, 10 or even 20
years. If you have an issue with IPC, rather
than attacking the person, let’s all work on
fixing the systems. If you just want to rant
and rave, well… PCB
Ray Rasmussen is the publisher
and chief editor for I-Connect007
publications. He has worked in
the industry since 1978 and is the
former publisher and chief editor
of CircuiTree Magazine. Ray can be
contacted at: [email protected]

Bare Board Group Ranks on Tampa Bay Business Top 100
powerhouse, Publix Super Markets.
The Business Journal reported that revenue growth
is alive and well even in a difficult economy with an
additional report on “Moving the Sales Needle Quickly.”
In addition to achieving its ranking on the 100 list, Bare
Board Group was also recognized in this report as one of
the top 10 fastest growing companies in the area with a
42.2% year-over-year revenue increase.
“The economy over the last few years has presented
a struggle for everyone,” said Bare Board Group
Marketing Manager, Tobey Marsicovetere, “But with
hard work, persistence, and a dedicated team like the
one we’ve assembled at BBG, it is possible to emerge
on the other side with a story of success. Having our
efforts pay off and achieving one of our best years ever is
both exciting and rewarding. Being awarded a spot on
the Tampa Bay 100 List is the icing on the cake of that
fantastic year.”

December 2011 • The PCB Magazine

9

short

The Tampa Bay Business Journal has announced
that Bare Board Group, a supplier of PCBs
manufactured overseas, has ranked 96th on their
annual Tampa Bay Business 100 List.
The Tampa Bay Business 100 is a collection
of the top 100 businesses in the Tampa Bay area.
Businesses included on the list are ranked by revenue
for the previous year. Companies included in the list
are headquartered in the newspaper’s seven-county
coverage area or are independent subsidiaries with
parent companies located elsewhere. This includes
Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk
and Sarasota Counties.
According to staff writer Jane Meinhardt, this
year’s list “is the poster child for diversity of business
in the region.” Bare Board Group finds themselves
ranked among banks, manufacturers, automotive
dealers, retailers and contractors, as well as revenue

article

(Now former) IPC President
and CEO Denny McGuirk (R)
presents the IPC Presidents
Award to Don DuPriest (L) of
Lockheed Martin Missiles and
Fire Control at the IPC Printed
Circuits Expo, January 2002.

A Dozen Years at IPC:
A Retrospective
by Denny McGuirk
IPC

s u mmar y
IPC is entering the second decade of the
twenty-first century with solid finances,
programs and representation in Europe,
China, India and North America, and an
excellent reputation worldwide. It’s been a
great ride and I don’t regret a minute of it.

10

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

One of the first tasks I had when I was
hired in late fall of 1999 was to attend a Board
meeting as an observer. In December of that
same year, I did so, and the big issue on the
agenda was whether IPC should buy a building. I found this pretty surprising for an organization with fairly small reserves. After talking
to Board members and staff, I learned that they
shared many of my concerns. After taking my
position in January 2000, I helped the Board
decide against the building. Looking back, it
truly would have been a financial disaster for
IPC, especially because, soon after, the dotcom/Y2K recession slammed our industry. The
decision helped me quickly understand our
financial situation and our prospects.



My experiences with the Board reinforced a personal belief
of mine: Hire good people and let them do their jobs!

At about the same time, I had an orientation meeting with the staff vice presidents to
examine our strategic plan. I was surprised to
learn, about 20 minutes into that meeting,
that IPC didn’t have a formal plan. I began
working with our Board Chairman Ron Underwood to initiate “focus on the future” member
meetings, which entailed meeting with members personally, in different places around the
United States, to hear their issues. Most were
pretty satisfied with the services and programs
offered at that time, but there was a sense that
change was coming.
Seeing the rise of China, our Board was
able to foresee that IPC would need to become
more global to keep our standards relevant.
Based on these member meetings and survey
data, the Board adopted its first, true, longrange plan focusing on becoming recognized
as a global association; strengthening IPC’s
position as the industry’s worldwide standards
organization; expanding the reach of IPC to all
membership segments; and expanding IPC’s
global data collection and dissemination.
Going Global
The early 2000s were extremely challenging
in North America, and IPC’s efforts to become
more global were not well received industrywide. It’s one of my greatest regrets that we
were not better able to explain that IPC’s global
activities would not interfere with our membership programs in North America and that it
would only make the standards more valuable
and useful to the supply chain. We never cut
any programs in North America to do more
overseas. Our Board consistently supported
IPC’s global growth and did not feel that protectionism or import restrictions would be effective. While some U.S. companies wanted to
see IPC out in front, lobbying for increased tariffs or other measures, our Board never felt that
was the right direction for the organization.
I learned a tremendous amount while helping the association “go global.” It’s much more
complex than one would think, at the beginning. Putting the right people in place, adhering to laws and local regulations, dealing with
translations and currency issues—the list is
endless. Today, IPC is much more sophisticated



than it was in 1999. We have offices in China,
India, Europe and North America. We have 43
training centers and 40 distributors in Europe
and Asia. Members outside North America now
account for one-third of our membership. My
friend and former IPC Board Chairman Stan
Plzak used to ask, “How do we know when
we are global?” What a great question to have
grappled with over the last decade.
Working with the Board has been an enriching and educational experience. When
I joined IPC, the Board consisted of many
entrepreneurs and company owners. While the
Board has always set IPC policy, some Board
members saw the IPC president as an extension of their own staff and wanted to know all
of the daily details. I had to push back in the
beginning to get the space I needed to execute
the Board’s policies and to manage the association. Over time, the Board began to embrace
truly its role in setting the vision and strategy
of the organization.
My experiences with the Board reinforced a
personal belief of mine: Hire good people and
let them do their jobs! It’s been my privilege to
work with an extremely talented and dedicated
staff at IPC. They have challenged me, they
have taught me and they have made me better. I know that the association will be in great
hands with such an experienced and committed staff in the United States, Europe, India
and China, following the Board’s guidance.
The Dawn of Regulations
Another issue that has caused the industry
a lot of pain over the last 10 years has been the
rise of materials restrictions and other environmental regulations. Before I joined IPC, the
Board had voted against fighting the European
Union’s proposed Restriction of Hazardous
Substances (RoHS) directive. Despite the lack of
evidence that lead in electronics was a public
health concern, the Board took the strategic
position that this was not a battle the industry
could win due to public concern over the toxicity of lead. Once the RoHS directive became
law, many people were angry that IPC had not
fought the lead ban. I have always felt that the
Board was right in its decision and that people
who blamed IPC didn’t understand how big
December 2011 • The PCB Magazine

11

A dozen years at ipc: a retrospective continues
the issue was. The issue wasn’t regulatory; it
the industry? Is it best for the members? Some
was something the OEMs were going to do to
may feel that I should have been more “politikeep consumers and NGOs happy.
cal,” but our decisions have always been based
Unfortunately, RoHS was just the beginon a strategic view of what is the best course
ning in materials restrictions. With nonfor the industry and the members.
governmental organizations sharpening their
When I first started, I told the staff that,
attacks on materials that the public may
having survived life-threatening combat misperceive to be harmful,
sions in Vietnam, nothrather than may actuing that happens in
ally be harmful, IPC has
our daily life at work is
As I look back, I am
had to step it up. For
worth inflicting unnecproud of steering IPC
the last few years, IPC
essary stress. Setbacks
has made a stronger
and challenges help us
through a period of great
effort to advocate for
to learn and improve.
requiring sound science
Mistakes happen, situadifficulty and challenge.
in determining future
tions happen— let’s fix
materials restrictions.
them and do it with digWe had a huge sucnity, respect and poise.
cess in 2010 when the Green Party in the
As I look back, I am proud of steering IPC
European Parliament dropped demands for
through a period of great difficulty and chaladditional substance restrictions under the
lenge. No one could have known in 1999
revised RoHS directive.
that we would face two difficult recessions—a
In fact, some of IPC’s greatest contribucomplete restructuring in the world’s manutions to the industry’s success have been in
facturing geography and an era of increasingly
the area of environmental policy. One of
difficult environmental restrictions. With the
our earliest victories was the Environmental
Board’s guidance, and under my leadership,
Protection Agency’s (EPA) Metal Products and
IPC is entering the second decade of the twenMachinery Effluent Limit Guidelines in 2003.
ty-first century with solid finances, programs
EPA originally proposed wastewater treatand representation in Europe, China, India
ment standards for printed boards and 16
and North America, and an excellent reputaother metal-using industries. The proposed
tion worldwide. It’s been a great ride and I
guidelines were based on flawed data and
don’t regret a minute of it.
would have cost up to $250,000 per facility,
Until we meet again... PCB
per year. IPC, working with dedicated volunteers, wrote more than 300 pages of comments proving that the EPA’s proposal was
Denny McGuirk served for
based on bad science and bad data. In the
12 years as the President and
end, EPA proposed no new standards for the
Chief Executive Officer of
printed board industry, as the proposed rules
IPC – Association Connecting
would not provide any measurable environElectronics Industries®. He is
mental benefits, and the cost burden could
currently the President and CEO
have devastated the industry.
of SEMI. McGuirk graduated
from the United States Air Force Academy in
Core Values
1969 with a B.S. in Western European Affairs
I have always espoused three principles:
and served for 24 years in the United States
Honesty, loyalty and integrity. Beginning
Air Force, attaining the rank of Colonel.
with my years spent in the U.S. Air Force and
McGuirk earned a Master’s degree in public
continuing through my time at IPC, these
administration from the University of Colorado
core values, together with the honor of servin 1980.
ing, have always guided me. Is it right for





12

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

s u mmar y
solving your dam problems
col u mn

Why Lean, Six Sigma
and TOC Methodologies
will DAM Up Your
Company

If you want Lean to work, don’t apply it
as a prescription for everyone to follow,
but something else. In order to get at the
something else you need to make a simple
choice between waiting for others to tell
you what to do or moving forward with all
of the help you can find right now.

by Gray McQuarrie
Grayrock & Associates

It isn’t the ideas
and tools contained in
methodologies that are
bad for you; it’s using
a methodology of any
kind that will kill your
business. If you want
Lean to work, then
you must not apply it
as a prescription for
everyone to follow, but
something else. In order
to get at the something
else you need to make a
simple choice between
waiting for others to tell
you what to do or moving forward with all
of the help you can find right now and deal
with immediate reality. The former describes a
stationary state, or what I call a DAM thinking
state. The latter describes a dynamic state, or
what I call a FLOW thinking state.
The Trouble with Methodologies
Don’t get me wrong. I am not against
the content that any of these methodologies
provide. As I look back at this industry and
my career, when I was a chemist working in
a small board shop in Salt Lake City, Utah,
called Beehive Circuits, I remember my first
exposure to methodology. Remember Quality
Circles? The promise? The excitement? I
remember watching a film shot at Hewlett
Packard, espousing the great results they got
with this methodology. I also remember how
spectacularly it failed at Beehive. Why?
I remember being taught Six Sigma at
AlliedSignal and being part of the first wave
of black belts before GE even knew what it
14

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

was. Great fanfare. Great
expectations. And then
the slow, steady, grinding
halt. Why?
I remember the
success I had personally
with Lean. And then I
watched others try to do
the same thing and fail.
Why? I remember when
Theory of Constraints
(TOC) consultants
attempted to fix a
lamination plant where
I worked and they failed,
too. Why?
Is there something wrong with us in our
industry, where we continually fail with the
latest and the greatest? If it is any comfort to
you, we aren’t alone. Consider the learning
organization with its systems thinking and
how the best and the brightest companies, like
Polaroid and Kodak, fell short. Or reengineering
organizations with its massive employee
cuts, causing companies like Walmart and
McDonald’s to rise to the top and our most
innovative companies like Hewlett Packard to
falter and lose their way. All methodologies
have a litany of failure. All methodologies
inevitably halt the flow of change and progress.
Picture a methodology as a dam blocking up all
of your company’s potential.
All methodologies are destined to fail
within a complex system by definition. What
is a methodology? It is about following a set
of rules, in a disciplined and unvarying way. If
you don’t get the results you need, then you
have non-believers who must be punished for
not following the rules. Or, if the methodology

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why lean, six sigma and toc methodologies will dam up your company continues
is bad, you need to follow a different set of
What is a Construct?
rules. In the former, you fire people or ostracize
Consider the literal definition found in
people and in the latter you adopt a different
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary: to make or
or newer methodology. Ever wonder why
form by combining or arranging parts or
Six Sigma became something like a religion?
elements. Last month I presented you with a
Because it wasn’t really about solving problems
problem that was very Theory of Constraintsas much as it was about following rules.
like and I presented as a construct. I didn’t
Challenge the rules or break the rules and you
tell you what steps to follow: 1, 2, 3. Instead,
risk facing the inquisition!
I offered a detailed scenario for you to think
The real tragedy with these methodologies
about, experiment and model. I showed how
is they contain powerful tools and techniques;
the constraints change depending on product
however, once a methodology fails to
mix. In this case it wasn’t about finding
eliminate all of our problems we say, “The
and improving the constraint, but rather
methodology doesn’t work and I want nothing
discovering how optimizing on the product
more to do with it or anything concerning
mix can maximize your plant’s profitability.
it.” I know of a plant that brought in Eliyahu
In fact, this fact, which is very real, has created
Goldratt’s company and now will not touch,
yet another methodology called Throughput
think or consider anything associated with the
Cost Accounting, or TCA. As a methodology,
Theory of Constraints again, ever! When the
TCA has its believers and non-believers. As
methodology fails, because the expectations
a construct, on the other hand, we can all
are set way too high, they are banished to
learn, discover and make our manufacturing
the great scrap heap of ideas, never to be
operations better.
considered again. Consequently, we are left
with an ever-diminishing set of tools to solve
Where Does That Leave Lean?
exponentially growing problems. This is a
What about Lean? Lean can be
scenario for disaster! It is the main reason
spectacularly successful or marginally
why I feel so many board shops have had to
successful or it can completely bomb. This
close down here in the
perplexed me for the
United States.
longest time. We have
I know of a plant that
When I first
all heard about the
stumbled on the Theory
seven forms of waste,
brought in Eliyahu Goldratt’s
of Constraints, I was
such as over processing,
company and now will not touch,
told to go out on the
inventory, waiting, etc.
think or consider anything associated
factory floor and find
However, there is an
with the Theory of Constraints
out what operation had
eighth form of waste
the greatest amount of
that isn’t discussed
again, ever!
WIP in front of it. Once
in Lean: the waste of
found, it would be a
human potential. This is
simple matter to just focus on speeding up set
discussed indirectly, when people write about
ups, reducing the number of steps, ensuring
the Lean culture, employee participation and
adequate human, material and equipment
cross-functional teams. In this type of cultural
resources, and then realizing a huge return.
context Lean becomes a construct, something
Well, if you were like me, all gung-ho ready
from which we can all build. However, if we
to go, you went out on that plant floor and
are looking for a methodology, a perfect way to
found there were piles in front of almost every
solve our problems, then Lean will bomb. As
operation! Where is this so called constraint?
a construct, there must be flexibility on who
The theory was fine, but the prescription was
should be on the team, which tools to be used
wrong and useless. Theory of Constraints
and in which order, and how to allow a freeshould not be applied as a methodology, but
flowing interchange of ideas in an egalitarian
rather as a construct.
and meritorious sense. When it becomes a





16

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

why lean, six sigma and toc methodologies will dam up your company continues
rigid, intolerant, top-down thing, i.e., when
Conclusion
Lean becomes a methodology, then it fails.
Our industry has been afflicted with
Because of this observation, I came to
numerous methodologies. We should be
look at the world as a choice and so can you.
open-minded to the ideas contained within
You can make the choice, to wait for others
these methodologies and realize we aren’t
to tell you what to do and remain stationary,
perfect; likewise, we should not expect the
or you can make the choice not to wait, seek
methodologies people come up with to be
out all the help you can
perfect. What we should
find, deal with immediate
focus on is designing
What we should focus on is
reality and just do it fast.
our own constructs that
Once again, the former is
engage people productively
designing our own constructs that
a stationary state, or DAM
into solving complex
engage
people
productively
into
thinking; the latter is a
problems. Unfortunately,
dynamic state, or FLOW
as I look back, too many
solving complex problems.
thinking. Around this
of us are still looking for
idea I designed a simple
that perfect methodology
construct in order to help me predict business
that will remove all of our problems and
outcomes.
trouble. This is unproductive thinking.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say
Problems are good. Create a population of
I went to all of the training, did all of the
messengers that will bring problems to you,
project work required and became not a Six
because your growth and your progress will
Sigma Black belt, but a Six Sigma Master.
stop immediately when you stop discovering
Let’s say you are just a green belt. If you are
problems. That is what I talked about in my
in a meeting with the Master and he tells
October column, Don’t Shoot The Messenger:
you how great he is, are you going to want
Make Your Quality Meetings Fun. If your
to work with him? This is the ego DAM and
quality meetings aren’t fun, why aren’t they?
blocks productivity.
Your people will lead you to the promised
Consider another example: If you think
land. Don’t impose a methodology that
the project management system derived
will sap them of all of their thinking, desire
from TOC, known as Critical Chain Project
and creativity. Looking forward, we have an
Management methodology (CCPM) is the
opportunity to think differently and make our
pinnacle, will you entertain a discussion with
businesses much more competitive, just by
me about the SCRUM Project Management
making a simple choice between being a DAM
construct? No—why would you? This is the
thinker or being a FLOW thinker.
Methodology or construct. What is your
learning DAM and this blocks discovery.
choice? PCB
Now, when we have both the ego DAM and
the learning DAM, we say two things to
ourselves: 1) we are better than anyone else
Gray McQuarrie is the President
and 2) we know it all. When we are like that,
of Grayrock & Associates, a team
we are perfect! And, if we have a burning
of experts dedicated to building
need to be perfect, and we believe the Lean
collaborative team environments
that make companies maximally
methodology is perfect, and we have been
effective. McQuarrie is the primary
trained in that methodology in order to
inventor of the patent Compensation
attain perfection, then we have become a
Model and Registration Simulation
Crusader! Like the
Apparatus
for
Manufacturing
Printed Circuit Boards.
old Norse battle cry I learned at St. Olaf
He has worked for AlliedSignal, Shipley, Photocircuits,
College, I say to you, “Fram Fram Christman
Monsanto and many other companies and clients. For
Crossman!” Slay all of the non-believers as
more information, visit www.grayrock.net, or email
you waste and strip all of your company’s
McQuarrie at [email protected]
human potential.





18

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

Walt Custer Interprets the Market
video interview

by Real Time with...productronica 2011

This year, we’ve had the Fukishima
disaster, the floods in Thailand, the U.S.
debt crisis and political stalemate and
the financial crises facing Europe with
the possible default of Greece and Italy.
Market guru Walt Custer has had his
hands full, but he sorts through all of the
noise in this market update.

www.realtimewith.com

H&T Global Circuits Introduces New Sales Rep Partnership
able to offer our rep network everything
they need to make sure they can fully service
their customer base guarantees their success
in the future. This new initiative, combined
with what I would have to say it the best PCB
value available today, makes representing
H&T Global the most desirable and sought
after principal out there today.”
Dr. Hamadeh added, “This is a plan
whose time has come. I know from
personal experience that for many years
now independent sales reps have had a
very difficult time selling for board shops.
They have just not been treated very fairly.
Our goal with this new plan is to change
all that. We have come to realize that the
more successful our reps are the more
successful we will be. If we can show that
our relationship with them represents a
truly equal partnership—an honest win/win
arrangement—the better we all will be.”
December 2011 • The PCB Magazine

19

short

H&T Global Circuits, providers of a
complete global supply chain of PCBs,
from pre-production prototypes to small,
medium or high production quantities
covering all technologies, has announced
a new and innovative partnership plan for
independent sales representatives working
with the company. This new partnership is in
the form of a comprehensive package that
makes sure reps have everything they need
to be successful. From a complete menu of
product and services, to high-priority support
and territorial marketing and branding plans,
every independent sales rep working with the
company will have everything they need to
fulfill a successful partnership.
“As an independent sales rep for over 25
years, I have to say that this is exactly the
type of rep/principal partnership that I always
wanted to be a part of,” said Steve Yonkowski,
primary rep partnership manager. “To be

news

flex007 Highlights
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Circuit Technology has been edited by industry
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with some the world’s top interconnection
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flex technology.
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If you didn’t make it to Taiwan for TPCA
2011 and the 12th Electronic Circuits World
Convention, don’t fret. We have complete Real
Time With... video coverage of TPCA and ECWC,
including interviews in English and Mandarin
with the industry’s top technologists and
executives.
AT&S Satisfied with Record
Q2 Results
“We are satisfied with our performance in
the second quarter,” says AT&S CEO, Andreas
Gerstenmayer. “As expected, a number of new
applications were introduced to the mobile
device market in the last few months, resulting in
high capacity utilization at our Shanghai plant.”
Ibiden Q2 Net Income
Plummeted 90%
Ibiden Co. Ltd. has reported net sales of 140
billion yen for the second quarter this year, down
3.7% from the same period last year. Operating
income for the quarter was 6.5 billion yen, down
62.8% from last year, while net income drastically
dropped by 90%, to 685 million yen.
Eltek Receives FPCB Orders for
Medical Use
Eltek Ltd. announced that it has received
orders valued at $490,000. The orders include
high-end flex-rigid PCBs for use in advanced
medical devices by a U.S. medical equipment
manufacturer, with delivery expected by February
2012.

20

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

MFLEX’s Fiscal 4Q11 Revenue
Below Expectations
“Our revenue results were in line with the
low end of our expected range, reflecting a shift
in the timing of certain new programs for two
of our key customers,” said Reza Meshgin, Chief
Executive Officer of MFlex.
Schweizer’s Customers Not Affected
by Meiko Shutdown
Schweizer Electronic AG informed their
customers about their unrestricted ability
to supply, in response to concerns over the
temporary shutdown of one of two plants
of Schweizer’s cooperation partner Meiko
Electronics, in Wuhan/China.
MFLEX Talks Flex for 3D Packaging
Jay Desai of MFLEX sits down with Guest
Editor Michael Carano at TPCA and discusses
flexible circuit applications for 3D. He also talks
about his company’s 26% growth, which led
to the company’s CEO ringing the NASDAQ
opening bell recently.
UniPixel: No Significant Revenues
for Q3
In the third quarter 2011, UniPixel had no
significant revenues as it focused on advancing
the market introduction of its flagship products,
UniBoss and Diamond Guard. The Texas-based
company provides performance engineered films
to lighting, display and flex electronics markets.
IPC: N.A. Flex Book-to-Bill Fell to
0.97 in September
Flexible circuit shipments in September
2011 were down 0.7% and bookings declined
1.8% compared to September 2010. The North
American flex book-to-bill ratio in September
2011 fell to 0.97. Compared to the previous
month, flex shipments increased 20.1% and flex
bookings were up 9.9%.

feat u re — T he y ear in review

The State of PCB Design,

2011

by David Wiens
Mentor Graphics

s u mmar y
While the economy slouched through 2011,
the electronics industry—PCB design and
fabrication in particular—showed signs of
recovery. Is this market segment a bellwether
of the economy? That’s best left to the
economists, but hopefully the rest of the
economy will indeed increase its crawl from
recession.

Mentor’s TLA Program
For the past 16 years, Mentor Graphics has
conducted the Technology Leadership Awards
program. Dozens of PCB designers from
around the world submit their best designs for
consideration. This set of designs provides an
interesting viewpoint, when compared to the
previous year’s submissions, to assess “the state
of PCB Design” for 2011. Some of the trends
that we noticed may surprise you…as they did
our staff.
In addition to the TLA award program, I
surveyed a number of managers within Mentor
to get additional views on the year that is
winding down. Their input was interesting and
valuable, but perhaps not quite as surprising as
the actual designs from the field. So, here are
22

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

the major trends from this year, with a bit of
commentary.
High-speed Circuitry and the SERDES Crisis
Mentor’s development engineering director
for high-speed PCB products, Dave Kohlmeier,
refers to the “SERDES Crisis,” a term he coined
this year to describe the almost exponential
increase in the use of SERDES interfaces.
Previously, designs often included a SERDES
interface or perhaps a couple. A single interface
requires careful design due to the extremely
fast edge rates that ensure proper signal
integrity. Adding a second interface increases
the complexity, as now there are even more
asynchronous edges with their possibility of
crosstalk and EMI.
The last couple of years have seen the
number of SERDES interfaces on single PCBs
increase dramatically. That has resulted in the
absolute necessity of running signal integrity
(SI) simulations to ensure that these very fast
interfaces operate properly—and that is the
“crisis.” Even the best designers using the best
design tools may find it impossible to get a
clean signal without simulation and tweaking
the layout.
The PCB designs submitted for the TLA
competition bear this out: 83% of the designs
employed signal integrity simulation and
analysis as a design procedure. Quite clearly,
the effort put into SI is reaping benefits for the
companies employing it.



Who can predict how many high-speed nets will be packed
into next year’s designs?



Figure 1: Current density maps produced with HyperLynx PI can graphically alert designers to
problem points before the PCB design is committed to prototype, allowing rectification before making
a physical board. In this illustration, the “hot” colored spikes indicate significant current density on that
portion of the PCB.
Signal integrity isn’t the only area that can
be negatively affected by extremely fast edge
rates and multiple SERDES channels. Without
clean power, every designer’s nightmare—
intermittent problems—is unavoidable.
Current droops, voltage spikes, high-current
density points and other power integrity (PI)
issues can not only cause intermittent data
errors but can lead to more disastrous results
such as long-term component failures and
even trace de-lamination.
Again, the TLA statistics show that PI
analysis is becoming commonplace in PCB
design. In 2011, exactly two-thirds of the
designs incorporated PI simulation and
analysis in the process. That number represents
a 12% increase in the number of designs
incorporating PI compared to just one year

ago. As shown in Figure 1, spending up-front
time to find problem points in the PCB design
to ensure clean power is another trend that
companies are viewing as worth the effort.
To cement the trend of ever-increasing
edge rates, I took a look at both the number
of high-speed nets and the edge rates for 2010
and 2011. Looking at the 2010 numbers was
a “WOW!” moment; the 2011 numbers are a
“HOW?” moment.
The average number of high-speed nets
on the design submissions actually decreased
a small amount. However, the maximum
number of high-speed nets in 2010 was an
astonishing 5,400; in 2011 that number rose
to 6,000. Who can predict how many highspeed nets will be packed into next year’s
designs?
December 2011 • The PCB Magazine

23

the state of pcb design, 2011 continues
feature — the year in review

Edge rates also continue to climb to the
point that they are reaching physical limits.
In 2010, the average edge rate was 468 ps;
in 2011, that average was cut in half to 223
ps. The minimum edge rate in 2010 was 10
ps; in 2011 five of the entrants’ designs were
operating with edge rates of 10 ps or less.
One more trend deserves mention and
that is the number of designs incorporating
RF. In 2011, the number of designs with
RF onboard rose by 43%, with one in five
having RF. That there is growing use of
wireless technology goes without saying. But,
the additional challenges of incorporating
RF along with other analog and high-speed
digital signals on the same board are quite
ominous. In addition to all the SI issues
that multiple high-speed nets give rise to,
now designers have to deal with RF energy
“wiggling the bits.”
Quite obviously, the continuing trend
in 2011 was faster, faster, faster. Not
coincidentally, the trend in design tool usage
was more and more simulation and analysis.

The Physical Challenge
The physical trends in PCB design were
more surprising than the electronic trends.
Table 1 shows a number of the average
physical trends over the 16 years that the TLA
program has existed. Most notable is that over
16 years, the number of nets has doubled,
while at the same time, the total PCB area has
decreased by 20%. If there is anyone who does
not believe there is “art” to PCB design, this
should dispel the thought!
But wait…there’s more. In addition to the
number of nets climbing, the density of the
components on the PCB increased by 30% in
the last year. Let’s think about that…faster,
denser and smaller. There’s no mistaking the
trend.
This leads to the obvious question:
What has enabled that eye-opening trend?
Unfortunately, the answer is not at all obvious.
One possibility is an increase in the use of
high-density interconnect (HDI) technology.
However, there was actually a slight decrease
in designs using HDI, although nearly half of

Table 1: Physical design trends in 2011 (Source: Mentor Graphics TLA program).
24

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

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the state of pcb design, 2011 continues
feature — the year in review

the designs did employ the technology. How
about trace width and spacing? Looking at
Table 1 again, you can see that it has remained
constant the last few years and actually hasn’t
changed much in a decade.
The answer could lie in the use of more
dense components. More FPGAs were
employed this year and chip-on-board designs
doubled, but still only account for 6% of
the total. Flip chip usage also doubled from
2010 to 2011, but is only nudging 10%. But,
contradicting that notion is the fact that the
average number of leads per part is four (this,
of course, includes connectors, test points and
2-pin passive components).
Perhaps the answer lies in the tools and
the ability of the designers to fully utilize the
capabilities built into those software tools.
Employing SI simulation and analysis has
allowed many designers to actually increase
the density of their designs. They are able to
actually determine, rather than calculate and
use a margin of error, what effects the layout
density has on the signals. The same can be
said of PI simulation and analysis. A prudent
use of PI generally results in a tighter layout
and elimination of many bypass capacitors,
freeing up space for denser components to be
placed and routed.
Design for Manufacturability
Design for manufacturability (DFM)
is a popular buzzword these days, but are
companies actually employing the technology
to reduce prototype iterations and re-designs?
The TLA trends clearly show this to be the
case.
At Mentor, we call the DFM tactics “left
shift,” that is shifting the considerations of
manufacturability to the left on the product
design time line. Don’t start thinking about
manufacturability after the design is complete,
“left shift” that thinking to early in the design
or even before the design is begun.
The entrants have clearly made an
increasing commitment to this concept. In
2010, more than two-thirds of the companies
entering TLA (68%) employed DFM in their
design procedure. This year, that number rose
to almost three-quarters (74%), an increase
26

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

Table 2: Design trends for 2011 (Source: Mentor
Graphics TLA program).
of 12% from year-to-year. With new software
tools coming online, this trend is certain to
continue, probably at an increasing rate.
Tying It All Up
There were some very obvious trends in
PCB design during 2011 and all point to an
optimistic outlook. Table 2 shows a summary
of the more dramatic trends. Quite clearly,
designers are putting more “stuff” into a smaller
space and doing it more efficiently. While the
tool capabilities continue to amaze, no less
amazing is the obvious underlying skill of the
designers who squeeze every last capability
out of those tools. Add to that the large and
increasing use of SI and PI simulation and
analysis and you have a pretty good picture of
“The State of PCB Design” for 2011. PCB
David Wiens joined Mentor
Graphics in 1999 through the
acquisition of VeriBest. Over the
past 25 years, he has held various
engineering, marketing and
management positions within
the EDA industry. His focus areas
have included advanced packaging, high-speed
design, routing technology and integrated
systems design. He holds a B.S. in computer
science from the University of Kansas.

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s u mmar y
beyond design
col u mn

Controlling
the Beast

Thriving on the outer layers of PCBs,
crosstalk, like fleas on a dog, can’t be
eliminated completely—or forever; the
key is learning how to minimize and
control it.

by Barry Olney
In-Circuit Design Pty Ltd, Australia

This insidious
little creature is the
dreaded Microstripum
crosstalkus radiarta,
more commonly known
as microstrip crosstalk
radiation.
It thrives on the
outer layers of printed
circuit boards, is
Figure 1.
particularly prevalent
where there are high-speed traces in close
proximity, prefers to breed on extended piles
of dielectric, feeds on electromagnetic signals,
regurgitating unpalatable spectrums, and is
particularly difficult to eradicate prior to EMC
testing. To stop it, this beast is best suppressed
at its source [crosstalk] or it will multiply in
plague-like proportions.
Laying the beast to rest between copper
planes suppresses its activity somewhat, but
unfortunately it is still able to infect nearby
signals with its relentless radiation. This beastie
is a fact of life in digital systems. It can’t be
eradicated completely, so we need to minimize
and control it and learn to live with it—like
fleas on the dog.

and are somewhat
absorbed by the
plane, but still tend
to radiate noise
outward.
Crosstalk is caused
by capacitive and
inductive coupling:
• Capacitive
coupling causes signal
voltages to couple current into nearby nets.
This is also referred to as forward or far end
crosstalk (FEXT).
• Inductive coupling causes signal currents
to couple voltage into nearby nets. This is also
referred to as backward or near end crosstalk
(NEXT).
Crosstalk can be coupled trace-to-trace on
the same layer or can be broadside coupled by
traces on adjacent layers. The coupling is three
dimensional. Broadside coupling is difficult to
spot as generally we look for trace clearances
when evaluating crosstalk, but a simulator
will pick this up. Traces routed in parallel and

What is crosstalk?
Crosstalk is the
unintentional electromagnetic coupling between
traces on a PCB.
In Figure 1 above, the red
lines represent the magnetic
field which couples voltage
inductively to the nearby
trace and also radiates. The
blue lines are electric fields
which capacitively couple
current into the nearby trace Figure 2: Broadside coupled crosstalk.
28

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

controlling the beast continues

Figure 3: Broadside crosstalk on ENET_RXD1
(struck low) from CLK_13.
broadside cause greater amounts of crosstalk
than those routed side by side. It is therefore
good practice to route adjacent signal layers,
in the stackup, orthogonally to each other
to minimize the coupling region (not like in
Figure 2). A better solution is to only have
one signal layer between two planes to totally
avoid broadside coupling altogether.
In order to measure the crosstalk on the
victim trace, we hold the victim signal low
(zero volts) and pulse the aggressor.
Since crosstalk is induced by the aggressor
onto the victim trace, it is obvious that
the higher the aggressor voltage the more
crosstalk will be induced. It is therefore best
to segregate groups of nets according to their
signal amplitude. This strategy prevents larger
voltage nets (3.3V) from affecting smaller
voltage nets (1.5V).
The ratio of crosstalk that is applied to a
victim signal by an aggressor signal is:

dB
Or, looking at crosstalk from a PCB
designer’s point of view:

30

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

Figure 4: Crosstalk vs. trace spacing (edge to
edge).
The above equation clearly shows that in
order to reduce crosstalk, we need to minimize
H (height above the plane) and maximize D
(distance between traces).
The easiest way to reduce crosstalk, from
a nearby aggressor signal, is of course by
increasing the spacing between the signals
in question. Crosstalk falls off very rapidly
with distance. Roughly, crosstalk plummets
quadratically with increased separation.
Doubling the spacing cuts the crosstalk to
about a quarter of its original level.
A good rule of thumb for this is: Gap = 3
x trace width. However, in today’s complex
designs it is not always possible to use up
valuable real estate to satisfy the above.
Figure 4 shows the effect of the tracing
spacing (edge to edge) on the crosstalk for both
microstrip (outer layers) and stripline (inner
layers). Note that the stripline, because it is
embedded between the planes, has much less
crosstalk than microstrip that radiates from the
outer layers of a multilayer PCB.
The effect of height over a reference plane
on trace-to-trace coupling can be seen in Figure
5. The thickness of the dielectric material plays
an important role in reducing the crosstalk.
The 3-MIL thickness dielectric material reduces
the crosstalk by approximately a quarter
compared to the 6 MIL given the same trace
spacing.
However, if we reduce the dielectric
thickness from 6 to 3 MIL (as in Figure 6)
then we must also reduce the trace width by

controlling the beast continues

Figure 5: Affect of dielectric height on crosstalk.
a corresponding amount from 8 to 4 MIL to
maintain approximately same impedance.
Also, assuming that the overall trace spacing
remains fixed, the lowest crosstalk is obtained
using the narrowest traces with the highest
impedance.
When evaluating a stackup it is best to talk
to your fabrication shop and make sure that
the desired materials are available and that
they can produce the trace widths/clearances
selected without affecting yields.
With all of the above issues to take into
account, how do we ever get high-speed
transmission lines to work effectively? Luckily,
synchronous buses, as typically used in
DDR designs, benefit from an extraordinary
immunity to crosstalk. Crosstalk only occurs
when the signals are being switched and this
crosstalk only has an affect within a small
window around the moment of the clocking.
Therefore, providing the receiver waits
sufficiently long enough for the crosstalk to
settle before sampling the bus, the crosstalk has
no affect on the signal quality at the receiver.

What is an acceptable level of crosstalk?
That depends on the technology being used
and has changed quite dramatically over the
years, going from TTL logic devices to today’s
high-speed Gb/s devices. The amount of
power a CPU uses, and thus the amount of
heat it dissipates, is the product of the voltage
and the current it draws. The trend is toward
lower core voltages, which conserves power.
But, reducing the core voltage also reduces
maximum operating frequency and the level of
acceptable crosstalk.
In a 3.3V system, a driver going low might
be expected to produce a signal no greater than
300mV low threshold (VOL), while the receiver
is guaranteed to respond to any signal less than
800mV (VIL). The difference (noise margin)
between VOL (driver) and VIL (receiver) in the
low state is 500mV.
For DDR3 memory devices for instance,
the following values are taken from the Jedec
Specification JESD79-3E:
The maximum crosstalk value is the
difference between the expected voltage at
the receiver and the receiver threshold. In
this case the maximum crosstalk is 350mV.
This is for single-ended signals. Differential
technologies do not have the noise margin
concerns of single-ended technologies. This
is due to common mode rejection, which is
the ability of the input to reject noise that
appears coincident on both inputs. Although
differential technologies are much better at
rejecting input noise, they are not immune.
Excessive noise is still an issue and can cause
serious problems. Also, the crosstalk varies
depending on the load, which may vary
considerably when driving banks of memory
modules.

Figure 6: Affect of reduced dielectric thickness on impedance.
December 2011 • The PCB Magazine

31

controlling the beast continues

Figure 7: Noise margin for DDR3 devices.
Keep in mind that the total crosstalk on
each victim trace is the total crosstalk from
each of several nearby aggressors, all of which
must sum to maximum value. Setting the
simulator to 150mV maximum crosstalk may
be low, considering the above, but it makes
sure we pick up any coupling that may be
detrimental to signal integrity.
Crosstalk creates noise that erodes the
noise margin. This noise may not be so great
that it alone will cause a bit failure, but it can
be enough to push the total noise over the
edge.
If we look into it further, the degree of
crosstalk is also dependant of several other
factors including driver strength (which
can normally be adjusted by firmware),
transmission line length, how far the
segments run closely in parallel and signal
rise time. In the case of long line lengths, a
series terminator slows the signal rise time
and extinguishes reverse-coupled crosstalk
at the near end, improving crosstalk
considerably.
Summary:
In order to minimize and control “the
beastie” we need to:
1. Route traces with as much spacing as
possible—3 x trace width if possible.
2. Keep the signal to reference plane height
as thin as possible.
3. Avoid long parallel segments > 500 MIL.
4. Avoid inadvertent broadside coupling on
adjacent dual striplines layers.
5. Route adjacent dual striplines orthogonally
to minimize coupled regions.
32

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

6. The lowest crosstalk is obtained using the
narrowest traces with the highest
impedance.
7. Use slow rise time signals or use a series
terminator to slow the rise time.
8. Reduce the driver fanout—number of loads.
9. Reduce the driver strength—mid-range
is generally fine but should be checked by
simulation.
10. Route on stripline (inner layers) rather
than microstrip (outer layers). This also
reduces EMI.
11. Segregate different technologies according
to amplitude.
12. And finally, use all of the above
techniques to ensure that you don’t
exceed the maximum crosstalk—150mV
is a good rule of thumb. PCB
References:
1. Advance Design for SMT – Barry Olney
2. PCB Design Techniques for DDR, DDR2
& DDR3 – Barry Olney
3. Design for EMC – Barry Olney
4. Embedded Signal Routing – Barry Olney
5. Controlling Emissions and Improving
EMC – Barry Olney
6. Differential Pair Routing – Barry Olney
7. Defeat ground bounce, far end and near
end crosstalk – Eric Bogatin
8. High Speed Signal Propagation –
Howard Johnson
9. Jedec DDR3 Specification JESD79-3E
*The ICD Stackup Planner can be
downloaded from www.icd.com.au

Barry Olney is Managing Director
of In-Circuit Design Pty Ltd. (ICD),
Australia, a PCB Design Service
Bureau and Board Level Simulation
Specialist. Among others through
the years, ICD was awarded “Top
2005 Asian Distributor Marketing
and “Top 2005 Worldwide
Distributor Marketing by Mentor Graphics, Board
System Division. For more information, contact
Barry Olney at +61 4123 14441 or email at
[email protected]

Atotech’s Walz on How the European PCB Industry has Stabilized
video interview

by Real Time with...productronica 2011

Dieter Walz, Atotech’s Electronics Europe
business manager, reviews the market
for PCBs in Europe. The shift of volume
production to Asia, along with the recent
downturns in the market, has left PCB
companies in Europe scrambling for new
business models, consolidations and
alliances. Today, conditions have stabilized
and the survivors seem to be stronger.

www.realtimewith.com

IBIDEN Releases CSR Report 2011
IBIDEN aims to sustain its growth
anchored on CSR-oriented management
calibrated to suit globalization. To encourage
CSR management in the workplace, the
IBIDEN Group Charter of Behavior was revised
in July 2011, after rounds of discussions
during fiscal year 2010 aimed at creating a
concrete form to the ideal envisioned by the
Group. 
The new charter, an extension of the
“IBIDEN WAY” made more suitable for dayto-day applications, summarizes this ideal.
The charter also serves as the base for future
activities, including discussions on the
organizational mechanisms that should be
enhanced and placed under management,
and the execution of specific actions to reach
the ideal state of operations. In addition,
employees conduct is governed by a separate
set of standards known as IBIDEN Standards
for Employee Behavior.

December 2011 • The PCB Magazine

33

short

IBIDEN Co. Ltd. has released its Corporate
Social Responsibility Report 2011, called the
Global IBI-TECHNO 100 Plan. This mediumterm management plan will run through
fiscal 2012, Ibiden’s centennial year, with the
aim of instilling the dynamism and corporate
culture that will enable the company to achieve
sustainable growth and stable profits for the
next 100 years. One of the pillars of the plan
is “Implement CSR management,” which
the company is putting in place with the full
participation of all officers and employees across
the Group.
IBIDEN’s approach to CSR management
calls for management practices underscored
by a high degree of reliability and transparency
for the benefit of stakeholders, based on the
belief that this path ensures sustainable growth
beyond the Group’s centennial year, toward the
next milestone of the Company’s bicentennial
anniversary.

news

PCBdesign007 Highlights
A “Real-World” Design Education
at Bay Area Circuits
Recently, Bay Area Circuits held an evening
of pizza, pop and PCBs, marking the beginning
of an effort by Bay Area Circuits to give back to
the community and help excite and educate
future PCB designers about real-world PCB
manufacturing issues. About 15 students from
DeVry, UCSF, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz
attended—not bad for a first event.
Mentor Names PCB Tech Leadership
Awards Winners
Mentor Graphics Corporation has announced
winners of its 23rd annual PCB Technology
Leadership Awards. It recognizes engineers and
CAD designers who use innovative methods and
design tools to address today’s complex PCB
systems’ design challenges and produce industryleading products.

Donatella Sciuto to Lead IEEE Council
on EDA
Professor Donatella Sciuto from Politecnico di
Milano in Italy will begin serving a two-year term
as president of the IEEE Council on Electronic
Design Automation (CEDA) January 1, 2012.
Sciuto’s goal for CEDA is to better coordinate IEEE
design automation activities and to encourage
greater participation from the EDA community.
Intercept Joins IPC-2581 Consortium
Intercept Technology Inc. has joined the IPC2581 Consortium. Intercept has always been
a strong supporter of open data transfer, and
continues to support such efforts with its
commitment to provide the IPC-2581 file format.
IPC-2581 will be added to Intercept’s suite of
ASCII manufacturing output options within the
next year.

Lee Ritchey, Isola Team for Differential
Signaling Class
The course, entitled, “PCB Stackup Design-Optimizing Signal Integrity, Manufacturability
and Reliability of a Printed Circuit Board,” focuses
on high-speed differential signaling issues.

Mentor Graphics Posts Positive Q3 Results
“Bookings were again a record, up over
20% from the previous third quarter record, and
for the second consecutive year our book-tobill through the third quarter is positive,” said
Walden C. Rhines, Chairman and CEO of Mentor
Graphics.

Simplified Solutions IDF-TO-3D Bridges
ECAD/MCAD Gap
The input into the IDF-TO-3D tool is IDF, a
file format generated by most ECAD software
tools. After uploading IDF files, users can select
replacement 3D models for each footprint
contained within the IDF files from the IDF-TO3D integrated 3D library of over 2,000 footprint
packages.

Polar Appoints Emdo Technologies as
Distributor in Israel
Polar Instruments, a market leader in signal
integrity tools for PCB design, fabrication and
test, has appointed Emdo Technologies Ltd., as
their exclusive distributor in Israel. Emdo will
provide local support for Polar’s signal-integrity
tools for the design and fabrication of rigid and
flex-rigid PCBs.

CADSTAR 13.0 Offers Greater Integration
for Collaboration
CADSTAR 13.0 features several new modules,
numerous enhancements, quality improvements
and greater ease-of-use, all representing excellent
value for small and medium-sized companies. Key
feature enhancements include improved letter
drill drawing creation, improved DXF import,
improved routing and an IDF interface.

Cadence Posts Year-on-Year Q3
Revenue Increase
Cadence reported third quarter 2011 revenue
of $292 million, compared to revenue of $238
million reported for the same period in 2010.
Cadence recognized net income of $28 million
in the third quarter of 2011, compared to net
income of $127 million for the same period a
year ago.

34

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

2011

feat u re — the y ear in review

Material
Highlights
by John Coonrod
Rogers Corporation

s u mmar y
As high-speed digital applications are
stretching to faster data rates, the need for a
circuit material to bridge the gap between FR-4
and very low loss PCB materials has become
evident. The year 2011 has been a good
year for the progression of this type of PCB
technology and has set the stage for 2012 to
be even better.

36

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

Looking back over 2011, several technical
issues regarding PCBs and the materials
used come to mind. Most of these are very
interesting and will likely facilitate the
technology to come. Some of the more
obvious issues for 2011 were thermal
management improvements, PCB design
modeling enhancements and the blending
of high-speed digital and microwave
technologies.
Thermal management concerns are
nothing new. As technology evolves, these
issues become more critical. Some of the
new GaN microwave-power amplifier chips
introduced in 2011 have very impressive
electrical performance; however, they
also generate high levels of heat—some
more than 200°C in normal operation.
More of these chips will be found in PCB
power amplifier applications in the future
and thermal management will be very
important to understand. Most, if not all,
PCB configurations with these chips will be
directly mounted to the heat sink, although
the heat emanating from the chip leads onto
the PCB traces can be significant. Having a
PCB material with a high thermal conductivity
property will allow this heat to spread and not
be focused at a specific point. Also, a laminate
with high thermal conductivity will increase
the heat flow path from the PCB traces to the
heat sink, improving thermal management.
The Rogers RT/duroid® 6035HTC laminate
was introduced to the market a few years ago
and in 2011 sales of this product increased
in response to thermal management needs.
Where most PCB laminates have a thermal
conductivity value of about 0.25 W/m/K, the
RT/duroid 6035HTC material is more than 5X
this number at 1.44 W/m/K. The material also
has very low loss (dissipation factor = 0.0013).
This translates to less heat generated at RF
frequencies.
Another topic which advanced in 2011
was electrical modeling of PCB structures;
more specifically, microwave and RF modeling
of PCB structures. The advances in the
electromagnetic (EM) modeling software
continue to be remarkable. Nonetheless,
one limit to them is knowing the correct

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2011 material highlights continues
feature — the year in review

properties of the PCB material used within an
EM model. The dielectric constant (Dk) of the
substrate needs to be accurately known and
this value can vary somewhat with frequency
or even the construction of the laminate. It
has been found and demonstrated that thin
laminates can have an altered Dk value in
certain circuit configurations due to the effects
of copper surface roughness. Additionally,
the performance of some PCB microwave
structures can be impacted by the Dk of the
material in the x-y plane of the laminate,
and strides in understanding these values
regarding a variety of material have been made
in 2011. The design Dk is the Dk value which
is best used for circuit design and modeling, as
compared to other Dk values sometimes found
on datasheets which reference a test method
that may or may not be appropriate for circuit
design.
I mostly deal with RF/microwave/
millimeter-wave applications. However,
from some exposure to high-speed digital,
I found there are similar concerns, as well
as many differences. Microwave designers
typically think in terms of wavelength, wave
propagation, insertion loss and frequency
domain characteristics. On the other hand,
high-speed digital designers generally think in
terms of rise time, propagation delay, crosstalk
and time domain concerns.
It seems that over time these two
technologies are merging to some degree.
For decades, the microwave designers have
known about dispersion and the many
38

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

different aspects of insertion. There are some
in the high-speed digital design community
who are also very aware of these issues, but
as a generalization, most have only recently
began to explore these concerns in depth.
The concern for copper roughness is getting
significant attention as it relates to insertion
loss, as is the impact of dispersion and
insertion loss on the eye diagram for very
high-speed digital applications.
Rogers Corporation has made laminates
used in the RF/microwave/millimeter-wave
PCB applications for many years. These
materials are considered low loss and typically
have extremely low dispersion. The standard
FR-4 circuit materials that have been used
in the PCB industry for several years are
considered high loss and come with relatively
high dispersion. As high-speed digital
applications are stretching to faster data rates,
the need for a circuit material to bridge the gap
between FR-4 and very low loss PCB materials
has become evident.
The year 2011 has been a good year for the
progression of PCB technology and has set the
stage for 2012 to be even better.
The Rogers Corporation Design Dk paper
and many other useful references can be found
on the Technology Support Hub at http://
www.rogerscorp.com/acm. PCB
John Coonrod is a Market
Development Engineer for Rogers
Corporation, Advanced Circuit
Materials Division. John has
23 years of experience in the
Printed Circuit Board industry.
About half of this time was spent
in the Flexible Printed Circuit Board industry
doing circuit design, applications, processing
and materials engineering. The past ten years
have been spent supporting circuit fabrication,
providing application support and conducting
electrical characterization studies of High
Frequency Rigid Printed Circuit Board materials
made by Rogers. John has a Bachelor of Science,
Electrical Engineering degree from Arizona State
University.

s u mmar y
Trouble in Your Tank
col u mn

Voids: Part II
by Michael Carano

Voids can be directly attributed to the
electroless deposition process itself and
voids in the electroless copper deposit are
caused by a variety of reasons. Incorrect
or improper maintenance of the chemical
concentrations or operating parameters are
generally the culprits.

OMG Electronic Chemicals

I know that we have
already devoted two
columns to this subject.
Believe it or not, there
is more, much more!
Until voids are eradicated
from the face of the
earth, we will still be
talking about them. In
this addition of Trouble
in Your Tank, we will
discuss voids as they can
be directly attributed to
the electroless deposition
process itself. Voids in the
electroless copper deposit
can be caused by a variety
of reasons. Incorrect
or improper maintenance of the chemical
concentrations or operating parameters are
generally the culprits.
Assuming that the desmear operation
and drilling are within specification and
not contributing to voids, one should now
concentrate on the electroless copper process
itself. It is important to recognize that the
PTH process, as it is most commonly known,
is an integrated operation. This means that
the various process steps are interdependent
on each other. For example, the cleaner
conditioner step influences the degree of
catalyst adsorption, which in turn influences
copper deposition. Thus, one can still produce
voids, but not necessarily because of the
electroless copper solution itself. Let’s explore
in more detail.
Electroless Copper Pre-plate Issues
Causing Voids
After the desmear operation, the next
step is to clean and condition the holes.
The cleaner conditioner functions as a super
40

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

wetting agent that
promotes catalyst
adsorption to the glass
and resin. One wants
to avoid incomplete
conditioning of the
holes, but not at
the expense of overconditioning due to
very long dwell times,
poor rinsing and
higher than normal
concentrations of the
conditioning chemistry.
The effects of overconditioning will be
presented in a future
column.
The cleaner conditioner is generally a
mildly alkaline solution containing wetting
agents. The agents or surfactants (often
formulated with cationic surfactants or
polyelectrolytes) aids in the adsorption
process by neutralizing the negative charges
on the hole wall, particularly the glass. The
supplier must formulate these conditioners
so as to preferably form a monolayer of a
conditioner on the hole wall, as opposed
the multilayer coatings that some cationic
surfactants produce. A little goes along way.
Generally, insufficient conditioning will lead
to poor catalyst adsorption particularly on
the glass fibers. This condition will reduce
the amount of catalyst adsorption which
leads to poor electroless copper deposition.
The catalyst (aka the activator) is
required in order to provide the medium
that will permit the actual deposition on the
copper, onto the hole wall. The activator
is a colloidal catalytic solution formed by
the admixture of palladium chloride salts, a
stannous salt in molar excess of the catalytic

voids: part ii continues
metal salt (palladium) all together in an acidic
medium. The tin is required to keep the
palladium in its active state and prevent the
precious metal from precipitating, rendering
the activation operation useless.
Insufficient amounts of catalyst will
reduce the amount of copper deposited in the
hole. This will lead to either voids, reduced
electroless copper plating thickness, or both.
Other key parameters to monitor are:
• Catalyst temperature too low or dwell
time insufficient—both will reduce catalyst
effectiveness and cause voids.
• Palladium content on the low end of the
operating window—this must be analyzed and
maintained within the proper concentration
window.
• Copper contamination in the catalyst—
this is why the operators must do everything
possible to reduce copper ion drag-in from
the micro-etch. Another issue to be concerned
with: the pre-dip is a salt-water solution
designed to provide common ion drag-in to
the catalyst solution. No rinse is required.
The main purpose is to reduce the chance
for copper contamination in the catalyst.
Generally, 500-700 ppm of copper in the
catalyst will act as a catalytic poison, which
then leads to voids.

Figure 1: Large void-propagation void. Note
resin-rich area in the via.
42

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

• Oxidation of the stannous ions will
lead to subsequent catalyst instability. The
palladium will precipitate, thus reducing its
catalytic activity. Voids will result.
• The quality of the rinse after catalyzation
should not be overlooked. The rinse will
remove excess catalyst and convert the
stannous tin to stannic. The rinse water at this
step takes on a cloudy appearance due to the
conversion of the stannous tin. This actually
aids in the removal of tin in the post-activator
step (accelerator), exposing the palladium.
• Some post-activators perform their
function by oxidizing the stannous tin layer
that surrounds the palladium to stannic tin,
creating a more catalytically active particle.
Other accelerators act as a tin stripping
solution, solubilizing the tin and exposing
the palladium. Regardless of the mechanism
or chemistry utilized for post-activation,
insufficient acceleration will reduce the copper
deposition reaction. When this occurs, voids
and thin deposits are the result.
An example of thin plating is shown below.
There is a possibility of several causes here,
including insufficient conditioning of the glass
fibers, insufficient catalyst adsorption in these
areas or inadequate acceleration. A potential
clue to the defect can be seen in the quality of

Figure 2: Plated copper bridging a small-hole
void.

voids: part ii continues
the hole wall. Just because the section shows
thin plating, that doesn’t mean that there
are no voids. It may be that the section did
not actually hit the voided area. Nonetheless,
issues that can lead to thin plating will also
cause voids. Understand how the various
processes interact. Certainly poor drilling
practices that lead to glass bundle tear-outs
lead to voids.
Figure 1 shows a good example of a large
void. One can also see the rounded edges of
the plated copper. This is a good indication of
what is termed a propagation void. There is a
void in electroless copper in this area that is
quite large. Therefore, the electroplated copper
does have some conductive surfaces with
which to plate or propagate. However, the void
is of sufficient size that the plated copper is
unable to bridge the gap. Again, get to the root
cause of the defect.
Figure 2 below can be misleading. The
panel may pass electrical test due to the
continuous deposit. Clearly the copper is

much too thin in the via. There was most
likely an electroless copper void that was
small enough to allow a minimal amount
of electroplated copper to be deposited,
but clearly not sufficient to meet reliability
standards.
Remember, the best defense against voids
and other potential defects is a good offense!
Do your homework and make sure there is a
good understanding of all processes that can
impact the defect. PCB
Michael Carano is with OMG
Electronic Chemicals (formerly
Electrochemicals), a developer and
provider of processes and materials for
the electronics industry supply chain.
He has been involved in the PWB,
general metal finishing photovoltaic
industries for over 29 years. Carano holds nine U.S.
patents in topics including plating, metallization
processes and PWB fabrication techniques.

video interview

Flex and Stretch Conference in Berlin
by Real Time with...productronica 2011

Joe Fjelstad, fresh from the Flex and
Stretch Conference in Berlin, drops
by productronica to discuss some
developments and applications of
stretchable circuits with Pete Starkey.

www.realtimewith.com

December 2011 • The PCB Magazine

43

news

Supplier/new product Highlights
Dainippon Screen Launches Fastest
Direct Imaging System
Dainippon Screen Mfg. Co., Ltd. has
developed Ledia 5, a direct imaging system
for PCBs that achieves the industry’s fastest
throughput. Ledia 5 uses the world’s first
multi-wavelength UV LED as a light source and
offers flexible imaging capable of handling any
photosensitive material (photo resist).
Rogers, Hitachi Chemical Collaborate
Rogers Corporation and Hitachi Chemical
Co., Ltd. have announced that they have entered
into a strategic collaboration agreement to
expand global adoption and improve customer
support of PCB materials for use in high-speed
digital (HSD) applications.
Park Electrochemical Introduces
New Laminate Material
Park Electrochemical Corporation announced
the introduction of its new N7000-3 laminate
material to complement its existing N7000-3
prepreg.
Dow Electronic Materials Launches
LED Tech Business
Dow Electronic Materials, a business unit of
The Dow Chemical Company, announced the
formation of a new LED Technologies business
segment to capture current and future demand
for light emitting diodes (LEDs) in the global solid
state lighting (SSL) market.
Spirit Circuits Invests in Ucamco
SilverWriter
“We benchmarked the SilverWriter, and it
stood head and shoulders above the competition
in terms of engineering, its capabilities and
Ucamco’s dedicated software package,” says
Spirit Circuits’ owner, Steve Driver.

44

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

Park Electrochemical Introduces
New Digital Products
Park Electrochemical Corporation announced
the introduction of N4800-20 and N4800-20 SI®,
the company’s new high-speed digital electronic
material products. N4800-20 and N4800-20
SI are available globally in both prepreg and
laminate forms.
Rogers Reports Record Sales
for 3Q2011
Rogers has announced record quarterly sales
of $147.6 million for the third quarter of 2011,
the third consecutive quarter that the company
reported record quarterly sales.
Lackwerke Peters Develops
Colour-Stable Lacquers
In the field of solder resists and also of
conformal coatings, Lackwerke Peters develop
colour-stable lacquers and in-case-of-whitesystems lacquers with growing reflectivity for
highest requirements to optical demands.
PEW Launches New Multilayer
Circuit Board Material
Panasonic Electric Works Co., Ltd. launched
MEGTRON4, a multilayer circuit board material
suitable for large capacity and high-speed
transmission, with superior heat resistance
to lead-free reflow soldering and long-term
reliability.
Nordson MARCH Releases New
RollVIA Plasma System
Nordson MARCH, a global leader in
plasma processing technology, announced
its new RollVIA Plasma System, a completely
self-contained vacuum plasma system with
production-proven roll-to-roll material handling
for PCB manufacturing environments.

feat u re — the y ear in review

The Year 2011, in Retrospect
by Abby Monaco
Intercept Technology, Inc.

s u mmar y
If you ask me, it’s been just another topsyturvy year following the last four topsy-turvy
years. As a child of the comfortable 1980s
and 1990s, it hasn’t been an easy adjustment.
But it’s likely just another cycle on the evercircular course of history.

Natural disasters, the Arab Spring, political
debates, the 99% movement...2011 has been
a year of dizzying ups and downs—natural,
economic and social. I’m feeling blasé, battered
and worn, and very ready to close this chapter
and start a new adventure. Whether with a
new president in 2012 or a steady uptick in the
stock market, I don’t really care—I’d even take
a calm and uneventful year over this one!
Thinking back to January of this year, the
general mood felt as though the whole world
was poised and waiting for something good
to happen. Reports on Wall Street looked
positive, and it felt like a year of recovery was
46

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

unfolding. Everyone was tired of bad news and
craving something good.
I spent a bemused February and March
following the news of Mentor’s squabble with
Carl Icahn, wondering what exactly Mr. Icahn
was going to try next after Mentor turned
down his offer to buy everyone out for $17/
share. That morning when I read the news that
three of his nominees were elected to Mentor’s
Board of Directors, I remember chuckling to
myself, “Aha! Touché!” Aside from the reports,
I don’t have much of an opinion of the
activity—only that it made for excellent EDA
gossip. We all need a good story to go with our
morning coffee.
On March 11, the whole world felt the
psychological blow of the 8.9 magnitude
earthquake that hit Japan, followed by a
devastating thirty-foot tsunami. While we were
all still reeling from the news of hundreds of
thousands of deaths, the Fukushima nuclear
plant melted down as teams of national
heroes sacrificed their health to try to stop the
radiation from spreading. I felt deep sadness
for all the lives lost, but also great kinship
with far away strangers. The scientists who
jeopardized their own lives for the sake of
the lives they could save reminded a battered
and tired world of what’s really important.
The fallout from the disaster was felt around



I was frustrated with the drama queen the U.S. market had become this year.

the world, with many governments, such
as Germany, rethinking their plans to build
nuclear power plants.
I turned my eyes from the headlines
on April 14th when I welcomed my second
daughter into my family. If anything great and
wonderful happened in April, I’m afraid I can
only articulate that it was in the form of a fat,
bubbly little baby who loved nothing more
than to eat and sleep, eat and sleep.
In May, National Instruments made a very
impressive move and acquired AWR Corp.
This particular acquisition is noteworthy in
the EDA industry because both companies
are allowed to co-exist. Unlike past mergers
and acquisitions (we all know who you are),
there are no negative side effects such as firing
of valuable support staff or the killing off of
software tool flows. AWR Corp. continues
merrily on its way as we speak, and National
Instruments serves as an example to me of
what good American business should be.



As I was resurfacing from baby-land, the
summer doldrums set in; I spent my sleepless
nights keeping up with headlines that took
a surprisingly positive tone. It seemed that
everyone was reporting year-over-year revenue
increases. Everyone at Intercept was in high
spirits as well, as we neared the end of our
most exciting software release in years.
In August, an interesting dichotomy
occurred between the EDA world and the
world at large. The U.S. market plunged in
its fastest and deepest crash in thirty years,
immediately following two major events: first,
the U.S. Senate voted to raise the debt ceiling
against the wishes of a great many Americans,
and second, Standard & Poor downgraded the
U.S. AAA credit rating to AA+ (See Figure 1).
I was frustrated with the drama queen the
U.S. market had become this year. I remember
telling my husband, in true Southern fashion,
that until we lost our jobs and our house,
“Frankly, my dear, I just don’t give a damn.”

Figure 1: Dow Jones Industrial Average, from Dec. 2010 to Nov. 2011, and events that caused some
of the worst down-turns in the markets.
December 2011 • The PCB Magazine

47

the year 2011, in retrospect continues
feature — the year in review

Figure 2: 2011 highlights from an EDA industry viewpoint.
We’ve had our share of hardship, with my
husband out of work for six months as the
architecture world sank to near non-existence.
But it makes life worth living when you are
forced to look at the four walls and roof over
your head and be thankful, cracks, peeling
paint and all. But, while everyone was gasping
over the events on Wall Street, the EDA
industry seemed to be bumping merrily along
with more reports of year-over-year profit
increases. Sales activity at work picked up, PCB
design job opportunities seemed to be flowing
again, and Wall Street drifted far away from
my mind.
Part of my happy distraction came with
the founding of the IPC 2581 Consortium. The
Consortium gained great momentum among
EDA industry manufacturers and software
vendors, giving a collaborative air to the final
stretch of the year. As August and September
48

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

wore on, the tumultuous stock market
seemed to have no effect on my mood; I was
cruising on the joy of working together with
competitors that hadn’t been too pleased to
work with us in the past. Finally, we’re playing
in the same sandbox as friends for a while, and
all for the benefit of PCB designers around the
world. Doing business for everyone’s gain feels
darn good.
On October 6, I was jerked out of my
collaboration stupor with the news that Steve
Jobs died at the early age of 56. Our industry is
so diverse as far as the kinds of printed circuit
boards that are designed and who they are
manufactured for, but it is fair to say that Mr.
Jobs was one of the greatest innovators in the
technology sector. He pushed the envelope
in ways that very few can, using his talents
to mold an incredible set of software and
hardware concepts that is shaping the future

Why choose Fein-Line?
Because there is a Fine Line between winning
...and the alternative.

After more than 44 years in the industry, just about
everyone knows the name Dan (Baer) Feinberg.
There are few in our industry that have his experience
and expertise in just about every aspect of the business.
Dan knows what works, and perhaps more importantly,
what doesn’t.
When additional expertise is needed, or when senior
management just needs an independent opinion,
companies large and small alike get the guidance of
Fein-Line Associates, especially in the areas of New
Product Market Entry and M&A Due Diligence.
In our business, there's a lot on the line, not just
sometimes, but every time. The line between success and
the alternative can be razor thin. That’s why winning
companies choose Fein-Line time after time.

Dan (Baer) Feinberg
Fein-Line Associates

Sales Training General Marketing Assistance · New Product Market Entry
Merger and Acquisition Due Diligence · Printed Circuit Technology assessment
Market Research (It may work but will it sell) · Expert Witness assignments
Technology Transfer

Fein-Line Associates, Inc.
P.O. Box 73355, San Clemente, CA 92673-0112
(949) 498-7866
[email protected]
www.feinline.com

the year 2011, in retrospect continues
feature — the year in review

of all new products being designed today. His
amazing skill for simplifying and beautifying
the most mundane tasks is a breathtaking
symphony of artistic and engineering talent—
two talents not commonly found in one
mind. His idiosyncrasies will fall into distant
memory, while his innovations will be a legacy
for a long time to come. I am among the
millions who wish him a greatly respected and
honorable farewell.
The pallid mood following Mr. Jobs’
departure finally wore off and I returned to my
good humor as I did the final work to launch
Intercept’s new PCB design software version,
Pantheon 7. There is nothing more satisfying
than taking a fledgling product enhancement
version and pushing it out of the nest to fly,
especially with so many happy recipients! The
new software’s first debut was at PCB West,
which made a great comeback this year. Foot
traffic was heavy at the show, which again
bolstered our confidence that the EDA industry
is doing well even in a rough economic
climate. Seeing a trade show buzzing with
activity is an excellent barometer to measure
what lies ahead.
But just as the year began, so it ends with
another natural disaster felt worldwide. This
time, Thailand’s epic monsoon season ended
with a large portion of the country under
water. Automotive plants such as Honda,
Toyota and Mitsubishi suffered major flooding,
while PC component makers of items such
as hard drives and hard drive motors are
predicting major shortages. This has caused
a spike in prices across the computer supply
industry, which in turn will make it more
difficult for computer industry items to be
manufactured at the usual high volume and
low prices.
If you are one of the millions of Apple fans,
brace yourselves for a wait; my sister, who
works exclusively on a Mac, was placed on a
forced vacation just last week after her hard
drive shut down and could not be replaced. (As
luck would have it, she and I were laughing at
the news over a double-strength Piña Colada
on the beautiful white beaches of the Gulf
of Mexico! C’est la vie!) General consumers
are predicted to suffer price increases as well
50

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

as lack of availability of products, possibly as
early as January 2012.
So there you have it: 2011. If you ask
me, it’s been just another topsy-turvy year
following the last four topsy-turvy years. As a
child of the comfortable 1980s and 1990s, it
hasn’t been an easy adjustment. But it’s likely
just another cycle on the ever-circular course
of history. Life feels more dangerous, the stakes
are higher, the comfort zone smaller. And the
fight goes on. PCB
Sources:
pcbdesign007.com/75503
pcbdesign007.com/76539
huffingtonpost.com/2011//japan-earthquaketsunami
pcbdesign007.com/79556
www.ipc2581.com
guardian.co.uk/world/2011/fukushima-heroesnuclear-japan-watches
apple.com/stevejobs/
online.wsj.com/article/
abc15.com/dpp/money/consumer/data_
doctor/thailand-flooding-to-make-computersmore-expensive-this-holiday-season
huffingtonpost.com/2011//thai-floods-honda

Abby Monaco, CID, is a product
manager for Intercept Technology
Inc. Prior, Monaco has worked for
Intercept as a software translation
expert, migrating and reverse
engineering boards from thirdparty software into Pantheon PCB/Hybrid/
RF layout software. She has held positions in
technical documentation, software quality
assurance and software support. Monaco’s
column, Software Bytes, appears bi-monthly in
PCBDesign007.

s u mmar y
point of view
col u mn

‘Twas the
Night Before
Christmas

Printed circuit board technology has
changed the way we do things in all aspects
of our lives; how we live, communicate,
educate and work. As we enter the season
of gift-giving, here’s a light-hearted break
from the heavy topics usually discussed
in this column and a chance to relax and
enjoy a good-natured laugh at another way
technology has changed how we do things:
shop! Merry Christmas.

by Steven Williams
‘Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring—
Except me and my mouse.

I spread everyone’s wish list
On the table, so nice
As Shopzilla was searching
To find the best price!

The stockings were hung
From the mantle with care;
Meanwhile, under the tree
It was awfully bare

I searched eCost, & eBay
And eBlah, blah, blah
I got sidetracked just once
In the heat of it all.

I had waited too long
To start shopping, you see;
That is why there’re no presents
Underneath my trimmed tree

Then I found Baywatch.com
By mistake, that’s a fact,
And explained to my wife:
“Boy those girls sure can act!”

Tired of fighting thru crowds
And of waiting in lines,
I had promised myself
This year I’d shop online.

Toys & tools, electronics
Fashion, jewelry & more
You can find what you need
At some dot.com eStore.

I looked down at my watch
And it said half-past eight;
I had better start surfing
Before it’s too late!
On Yahoo!, on Google,
and Amazon for sure,
I searched iTunes and Best Buy
QVC was a blur!
Browsed thru pages & pages
In search of some steals,
I just had to find someone
Who shipped overnight deals,
52

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

Your Single Source
for Your
Electrical Test Needs

A5a
Fully automatic flying probe test system

S2
High speed Flying probe test system

LM800 Picomat
Grid test with Sniper optical board alignment

atg Luther & Maelzer is a leading supplier of electrical testing solutions for the pcb industry. We offer
solutions for every application ranging from main stream technology all the way to HDI products such
as smart phones and tablet PC technology.
Our atg flying probe tester products are renowned for speed, accuracy and automation while the
Luther & Maelzer grid tester product range is known world wide for high throughput, repeatability
and flexibility.

www.atg-lm.com
Phone: +49 (9342) 291-0
E-mail: [email protected] atg-lm.com

‘Twas the night before christmas continues
Then I added-up all
Of my bargains galore,
After overnight shipping
I’d have paid less in a store.
As I logged off and shut down,
I thought to myself—
Perhaps next year I’ll go back
And buy gifts off the shelf! PCB

So now six hours later
Not an item was missed,
My mouse smokin’ & brokin’
I’d checked off all the lists.
Thru five strong cups of coffee
And more than one beer,
I’d accomplished my mission:
Gifts for all this good year!

Steven Williams is a 35-year
veteran in the electronics
industry and an authority on
manufacturing and management.
He is currently the commodity
manager for a large global EMS
provider, a distinguished faculty
member at several Universities and author of
the book Survival Is Not Mandatory: 10 Things
Every CEO Should Know About Lean
(www.survivalisnotmandatory.com).

Productronica Evolves to Meet Expectations
video interview

by Real Time with...productronica 2011

Peter Brandt, European sales manager
for atg Luther and Maelzer, reflects
upon productronica 2011 and how the
show has evolved to better address the
expectations of the European industry.

54

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

www.realtimewith.com

Calumet Wins SBIR Award
from U.S. Navy
Calumet Electronics has been awarded a
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase
I Contract Award from the Naval Air Warfare
Center - Aircraft Division. The award’s goal is to
conduct research under SBIR Topic N112-122
entitled “Embedded Single-Mode Wave Guides
for High Data-Rate Processing.”
Cicor Receives Prestigious
Aerospace Contract
Cicor has won a prestigious contract
to manufacture laser modules for optical
metrology. The contract was placed by the

news

milaero007 Highlights
renowned Ferdinand-Braun-Institute, LeibnizInstitute for high-frequency technology in
Berlin, Germany, which is participating in
the LaSUS project promoted by the German
Aerospace Agency.
Merlin Artetch Achieves
AS9100 to Rev C
High technology PCB Supplier Merlin
Artetch Ltd. has achieved AS9100 to Rev C
accreditation. The standard is designed to
meet the stringent and complex demands and
requirements of the defense and commercial
aerospace sectors. Rev C expands the scope of
AS9100.

December 2011 • The PCB Magazine

55

feat u re — the y ear in review

PCB Industry 2011 –
A Year in Review
by Karl H. Dietz
Karl Dietz Consulting, LLC

s u mmar y
From global PCB production statistics to
leading technology and process advances,
industry veteran Karl Dietz crunches the
numbers and provides his unique perspective
of the events and trends in the PCB industry
in 2011.

Welcome to one person’s anecdotal,
myopic view of events and trends in the PCB
industry during this past year. The year started
with encouraging, double-digit growth, which
flattened out in the second half of the year.
The total value of rigid and flex circuit boards
produced in 2011 is about $55 billion. About
40% of the boards were produced in China,
17% in Japan, about 13% in Taiwan and 11%
in South Korea. Europe and the U.S. accounted
for less than 10% each. This is not much
different than the previous year. Nevertheless,
56

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

there is a continuing trend of production shifts
to Asia.
The top three circuit board shops in the
world remained neck-and-neck: Unimicron,
Ibiden and Nippon Mektron. Production
capacity in Europe and the U.S. continued
to shrink, with about 280 shops remaining
in Europe and 340 in the U.S. Only one
European-owned company (AT&S) was in the
ranks of the top 20 PCB producers worldwide.
The microvia board (HDI) production that
Japan dominated for years has now found
competition of equal size in China. Most of the
larger Chinese PCB shops are still Taiwanese
owned, as in previous years. However, there are
several large, growing Chinese PCB shops such
as CCTC and the Founder Group whose roots
go back to the Chinese University system. U.S.owned companies still remain well represented
in China through companies such as Multek,
Viasystems, and M-Flex.
Europe has seen a steady decline of PCB
output from 2000 to 2009, but it enjoyed an
increase of 21% (over the previous year) in
2010, then continued double-digit growth
in the first half of 2011 that flattened out in
the second half. Germany accounted for over



Several PCB companies have developed specialty application boards,
such as those that feature cavities with embedded passive and
active devices, which have become more prevalent.

40% of the European production. All other
European countries accounted for less than
10% each. If one focuses on the Germanspeaking European countries (Germany,
Austria, Switzerland), they produce over
75% of the European PCBs. The end-uses are
dominated by automotive, industrial and some
photovoltaic and medical applications.
The top European producers are Wuerth,
AT&S, Schweizer Electronic AG, Multek and
KSG. KSG Leiterplatten emerged from an East
German (communist) conglomerate to a fastgrowing PCB producer, located in the state of
Saxony. The main production site of Ruwel,
in Geldern, Germany, has been taken over by
Unimicron. Unimicron will do prototypes,
quick-turn, and small-scale production as
well as product and process development
at Geldern. Another former Ruwel site in
the town of Wetter survived through a
management buy-out and is doing well due
to its specialization in rigid-flex. There are
other shops that have weathered the exodus to
Asia, such as a small shop that produces only
double-sided boards. Rising production costs
in China and high shipping costs have allowed
this specialized shop to survive.
Europe and North America are facing
a dwindling base of suppliers to the PCB
industry. Not many years ago, Europe had
a fair number of laminate (base material)
suppliers. Now only Isola (Germany) and
Panasonic (Austria) remain.
North American PCB producers serve
mainly the military/aerospace market and the
computer (and computer peripherals) industry.
Rising raw material costs have led to
modest PCB price increases. Copper peaked at
$4.50/pound in early 2011. It is now selling at
about $3.00/pound. Tin prices peaked at about
the same time at $15.00/pound and have come
down since then to about $9.00. Precious
metal price movements caused shifts in surface
finishing selections. The dominant precious
metal finishes are still ENIG (electroless nickel/
immersion gold), ENEPIG (electroless nickel/
electroless palladium/immersion gold) and
electrolytic nickel/electrolytic gold. The
popularity of ENEPIG shifts with the price
of palladium. This finish is more expensive



than ENIG, but is sometimes preferred as an
insurance against the dreaded black pad which
has plagued ENIG. A lesser-known finish,
ASIG (autocatalytic silver/immersion gold) has
gotten more attention recently. As gold and
palladium prices soared, several companies
switched to immersion silver. Finally, some
companies that used to run immersion
silver switched to OSPs (organic solderability
preservatives).
Several PCB companies have developed
specialty application boards, such as those
that feature cavities with embedded passive
and active devices, which have become
more prevalent. In Japan, several companies
practice embedding discrete passive devices.
AT&S produces boards that use its patented
embedded component technology, as does
Schweizer Electronic AG. Another specialty
PCB type are IMSs (insulated metal substrates).
These typically have a thick metal layer that
serves as heat sink, for applications such as
high-performance LED (light emitting diodes)
packaging. These devices produce a significant
amount of heat that must be dissipated.
Some companies find it prudent to
diversify into unfamiliar technologies such as
photovoltaics and printed electronics. These
emerging technologies are not entirely new
territory to PCB shops that have expertise
in metallization and screen printing. An
example of a PCB company that ventured into
photovoltaics is Unitech (Taiwan), offering

December 2011 • The PCB Magazine

57

pcb industry—a year in review continues
feature — the year in review

solar cell products. Schweizer Electronic
AG, which is a leading supplier of PCBs to
the photovoltaic industry, announced an
expansion into the energy field with the
foundation of Schweizer Energy Pte. Ltd.,
headquartered in Singapore.
Printed electronics is a less well defined
field which attracts the attention of PCB
makers. Applications include organic
photovoltaics, flex displays, OLED lighting,
printed RFIDs, printed memory, organic
sensors, flex batteries, “smart textiles” and a
variety of rather obscure uses.
Technological advances in the PCB industry
have been mostly evolutionary in 2011. Viafill copper plating has been perfected, several
other innovations in plating such as the use
of vertical continuous plating equipment and
inert anodes have become more common.
The technology of LDI (laser direct
imaging) also has become mainstream. It is
useful to view LDI, i.e., the use of a laser tool
to expose photoresist, pixel by pixel, as only
one example of digital imaging. Lasers are
also used in digital patterning by selectively
ablating metal, or metal etch resist (Siemens
process), or dielectric (e.g., Viking Process by
Amkor). Not all light sources used in digital
imaging are lasers. ORC (formerly Pentax)

offers an imaging tool that makes use of DMD™
micromirror arrays and a high-pressure mercury
lamp light source (405-nm wavelength).
Other digital imaging tools that make use of
DMDs™ include Hitachi’s DE imagers that use
a 405-nm diode laser, the Miva 2600X (MIVA
Technologies GmbH) that uses an LED light
source, the Ball Semiconductor Direct Imager,
Maskless Lithography’s digital imaging tool
that uses a mercury arc light source, and the
DMD™-based digital imaging tool from Aiscent
Technologies Inc. (Canada).
Ink jetting of an etch resist pattern and of
soldermask is being offered but has not yet
made significant inroads. On the other hand, ink
jetting of legend print is now widely accepted
and has a broad base of suppliers. PCB
Karl Dietz is president of Karl
Dietz Consulting LLC, offering
consulting services and tutorials
in the field of Circuit Board &
Substrate Fabrication Technology.
His column, Tech Talk, appears
monthly in The PCB Magazine. Contact Dietz
by e-mail at [email protected] or phone
(001)- 919 870 6230.

Schweizer Begins Diversification Strategy
short

Schweizer Electronic AG, a leading
manufacturer of premium PCBs, as well as
provider of solutions and services for automotive,
solar and industry electronics, is taking the first
concrete steps regarding the diversification of
their business strategy. Following the foundation
of the business division “Energy” in spring 2011,
the company announced the start of a production
of photovoltaic (PV) – high efficiency modules in
Asia, as well as the set-up own sales channels for
solar parks in China.
The investment volume for the first
production line amounts to US $50 to $60
million. By investing anti-cyclically, Schweizer
plans to participate in the expected positive
development of the photovoltaic market. 
58

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

“We believe in the future of photovoltaic,” says
Dr. Marc Schweizer, CEO of Schweizer Electronic
AG, the solar strategy of the company. “Just now is
the right point in time to enter the solar business.
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feat u re — the y ear in review

IPC-2581:
Consortium
Leads the Way
in 2011
by Rick Almeida
DownStream Technologies

s u mmar y
Founded by a variety of suppliers across
the PCB design/supply chain, the IPC-2581
Consortium made great strides in 2011 to
promote, enable, facilitate and drive the
adoption of IPC-2581 as the standard data
transfer format in the PCB industry.

60

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

2011 has been another eventful year in
the PCB industry. As with all industries, we
have seen our share of good news and bad
news, mergers and acquisitions, product
announcements, plant expansions and
company closings. But for me, there was one
announcement that stood head and shoulders
above the rest for news worthiness: the
formation of the IPC-2581 Consortium.
The IPC-2581 Consortium’s charter is
simple: To accelerate the adoption of IPC2581 as an open, neutrally maintained global
standard to encourage innovation, improve
efficiency and reduce costs. The members
of the consortium will openly support and
promote the adoption and usage of IPC-2581
by enabling their products, offerings and
services to import/export/consume IPC-2581.
The IPC-2581 Consortium operates
under the purview of the IPC—Association
Connecting Electronics Industries®, which
since 1957 has guided the electronic
interconnection industry. As a global trade
association dedicated to the competitive
excellence and financial success of their more
than 2,900 member companies, IPC represents
all facets of the PCB industry, including design,
manufacturing and electronics assembly.
Why is the adoption of IPC-2581
important? Well, Gerber and NC Drill data has
been the de facto standard data transfer format
for many decades, and while it has served us



The IPC-2581 Consortium was formed in June of 2011 to bring companies
together to enable, facilitate and drive the use and acceptance of IPC-2581.
all well, it is time to adopt a better standard
than Gerber. Indeed, other formats have tried
to replace Gerber, but nothing has taken
hold. As an industry, we need an intelligent,
robust data transfer format that is open and
neutrally maintained, one that will encourage
innovation, increase productivity, and most
importantly, improve efficiency and lower costs.
Printed circuit boards have changed
dramatically over the past three decades, but
the industry still uses Gerber predominately
as a way to communicate design intent to
manufacturing. Technologies such as surfacemount components, BGAs, blind and buried
vias, microvias, build-up technologies and
embedded components have pushed the limits
of what Gerber can handle. The amount of
data involved has increased dramatically and
has become unwieldy, difficult to manage and
often times, it makes it necessary to spend
more time in design validating the Gerber
and Drill translation. Adoption of IPC-2581
is critical to helping the PCB industry move
forward. With a new industry standard,
available to everyone and governed by a
neutral standards body, more data can be
exchanged with a higher degree of accuracy,
in less time, with less work and less chance of
errors. In addition, an industry standard data
transfer platform will make it easier for OEMs,
equipment companies and software vendors
to invest the R&D dollars needed to make it
successful.
The IPC-2581 Consortium was formed
in June of 2011 to bring companies together
to enable, facilitate and drive the use and
acceptance of IPC-2581. Founding members
of the consortium include Harris, Ericsson,
Fujitsu, nVidia, Sanmina-SCI, ADIVA, Cadence
Design Systems, DownStream Technologies
and Zuken. The group has grown significantly
as more and more companies across a wide
spectrum of the PCB design and supply chain
have joined.
The Consortium is open to any PCB design
and supply chain company that is prepared
to support or is committed to a roadmap for
IPC-2581 adoption. Systems companies are
asked to require suppliers to produce/consume
IPC-2581 data within the next 12 months.



EDA design tool companies are asked to output
IPC-2581 from board designs. DFM verification
companies must export IPC-2581; fabricators,
assemblers and test companies must import
and consume IPC-2581.*
Under the watchful eye of the IPC,
Revision “A” of the standard is being authored
with input, testing and validations being
conducted, with a hopeful publication by yearend 2011. At this point, setting achievable
goals and keeping everything in perspective
is important and while no one is under
the impression that this initiative will be
completed shortly, the momentum has begun
to build.
Many companies have already
demonstrated their commitment to IPC2581. DownStream Technologies is working
on integrating BluePrint-PCB® product with
fellow Consortium members Zuken and
Cadence. For their part, Cadence has stated it
will collaborate with all consortium members
to ensure that Allegro-derived IPC-2581 data
can be accurately and smoothly consumed
by their technologies, methodologies and
processes.
As Victor Hugo once said, “There is
nothing more powerful than an idea whose
time has come,” and for IPC-2581 and its
supporters such as the Consortium, this idea
couldn’t have come at a better time! PCB
Sources:
*Equipping the PCB Design and Supply
Chain with 21st Century Data, Keith Felton
and Hemant Shah. Printed Circuit Design &
Fab, July 2011.
Rick Almeida oversees company
strategy and direction as well
as corporate communications
and product marketing at
DownStream Technologies and
is a co-founder of the company.
Almeida was previously VP of marketing for
Innoveda’s Product Realization Group, and
prior to that, VP of World Wide Marketing for
PADS Software.
December 2011 • The PCB Magazine

61

article

Understanding,
Measuring and Tracking
Phosphorous in an
Electroless Nickel Bath
by Patrick Valentine
OMG Electronic Chemicals

s u mmar y
Electroless nickel baths require good process
control for proper operation and consistency
from bath to bath. Understanding, measuring
and tracking the phosphorous in the
electroless nickel deposit gives us a good
overall indication of how well the process is
being controlled, and good control is directly
related to reliability.

Electroless nickel immersion gold (ENIG)
has been used as a final finish for decades
now, and is one of the most widely used
surface finishes today, with approximately
54% of PCBs employing it. Recently, IPC
reported that 2010 sales for final finishes was
$285 million, with $155 million of that being
ENIG, or electroless gold1. The ENIG coating
has several outstanding attributes, including
excellent solderability and extended shelf life
before assembly, and is well known by PCB
manufacturers and assemblers alike.
An out-of-control ENIG process can wreak
havoc on yields, cause re-work and down time
and lead to costly field failures. Understanding,
62

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

measuring and tracking phosphorous in the
electroless nickel deposit is one potential way
of keeping a finger on the pulse of the process.
For phosphorous content the IPC-4552
ENIG Specification references the ASTM
International standard for electroless nickelphosphorous coating on metal, which is a
great place to start. The ASTM International
specification states the following2:
Paragraph 1.5: The coatings have
multifunctional properties, such as hardness,
heat hardenability, abrasion, wear and
corrosion resistance, magnetics, electrical
conductivity provided diffusion barrier and
solderability. They are also used for the salvage
of worn or mismachined parts.
Paragraph 1.6: The low phosphorus
(2-4% P) coatings are microcrystalline and
possess high as-plated hardness (620-750 HK
100).These coatings are used in applications
requiring abrasion and wear resistance.
Paragraph 1.7: Lower phosphorus
deposits in the range of 1-3% phosphorus
are also microcrystalline. These coatings are
used in electronic applications providing
solderability, bondability, increased electrical
conductivity and resistance to strong alkali
solutions.
Paragraph 1.8: The medium
phosphorous coatings (5-9% P) are most
widely used to meet the general purpose
requirements of wear and corrosion resistance.



An out-of-control ENIG process can wreak havoc on yields,
cause re-work and down time and lead to costly field failures.
Paragraph 1.9: The high phosphorous
(more than 10% P) coatings have superior
salt-spray and acid resistance in a wide range
of applications. They are used on beryllium
and titanium parts for low stress properties.
Coatings with phosphorus contents greater
than 11.2% P are not considered to be
ferromagnetic.
As the phosphorous content increases, wear
and corrosion resistance increase. This begs
the question, where should the phosphorous
content be for optimal corrosion resistance
and solder-joint strength? A quick review of
the literature reveals:
Dong-Jun Lee et al. found increased solder
joint strength with 10% bulk phosphorous
as opposed to 6% bulk phosphorous in the
electroless nickel deposit3.
F.D. Bruce Houghton concluded that
high phosphorous is not a problem, as
thought when starting Round 1 testing. Low
phosphorous can be a problem and it can also
affect solderability4.
Mei, Zequin et al. concluded that the root
cause for the brittle interfacial fracture is not
the high phosphorus content, as least in the
concentration range of 6-12 wt %5.
There is enough empirical evidence to
state that the percent phosphorous should
be somewhere between 6-12%. Staying
within the 6-10% range is in line with the

Figure 1: As the pH increases in the electroless
nickel bath, the phosphorous content decreases.



ASTM definition of a medium phosphorous
electroless nickel deposit (mid-phos).
But, what influences the phosphorous
content in the electroless nickel bath? Let’s
first look at some empirical test data6.
These graphs are not absolutes, simply
because there are many other influences in
the phosphorous deposition reaction. For
example, Class I stabilizers (S, Se, Te) and

Figure 2: As the nickel ions increase in the
electroless nickel bath, the phosphorous content
decreases.

Figure 3: As the hypophosphite ions increase
in the electroless nickel bath, the phosphorous
content increases.
December 2011 • The PCB Magazine

63

phosphorous in an electroless nickel bath continues
Class II stabilizers (compounds containing
oxygen such as AsO2-1, IO3-1, etc.) function
by adsorbing on the catalytic surface where
they prevent spontaneous decomposition of
the bath. When too many of these stabilizers
are adsorbed on the catalytic nickel surface
they inhibit reaction 3, allowing reaction 1 to
proceed while stifling reaction 2, resulting in a
lower phosphorus content in the deposit. We’ll
discuss stoichiometry a bit later.
As solution agitation increases, the rate
of diffusion of Class I and Class II stabilizers
to the surface increases. Each adsorbed
stabilizer molecule or ion reduces the
number of catalytic sites available for the
dehydrogenation of hypophosphite resulting
in a lower phosphorous in the deposit. This
phenomenon is most likely to occur at sharp
edges or corners. When taken to an extreme
condition, the nickel deposit becomes thin;
this is known as edge effect.
Fluids can flow steadily, or be turbulent.
In steady flow, the fluid passing a given point
maintains a steady velocity. For turbulent flow,
the speed and/or the direction of the flow
varies, which is what we have in an electroless
nickel bath due to stroke agitation and
vibration.
Bath loading can influence the
phosphorous too. Bath loading is referred to
as the ratio of total exposed surface area being
plated to the volume of solution in the tank. If
the workload-to-solution volume ratio is ≤ 0.2
sq ft/gal, the potential for stabilizer adsorption
is greater, especially on sharp edges or corners.
Additionally, as the electroless nickel bath
ages, the phosphorous in the deposit increases.
This is due to the alkali metal cations (Na+,
K+), or the ammonium ion (NH4+) build-up
in the bath. The buffers in the electroless
nickel solution associate with these cations
preferentially over the H+ ions, rendering more
H+ ions available at the diffusion layer. This
results in increased phosphorous in the deposit
and a retarded nickel plating rate. The age of
the electroless nickel bath is tracked by MTO
(metal turn over), e.g., if we run the electroless
nickel bath at 5 g/l nickel, once we replenish
the bath with 5 g/l nickel we count that as
1 MTO. We can also titrate the reaction by64

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

product, orthophosphite, and determine the
electroless nickel bath MTO.
For some applications within the integrated
circuits (IC) and micro-processing units
(MPU) industries it’s desirable to control the
phosphorous within a tight range. This can
be done by manipulating the above items
discussed, and monitoring and controlling the
Class I and/or Class II stabilizers7.
Let’s now focus our attention on the
primary stoichiometry in the electroless nickel
bath. Note that there are several secondary and
tertiary reactions which are not discussed here.
Reaction 1:

Hydrolyzed nickel species adsorbed at the
catalytic surface reacts with hypophosphite
depositing metallic nickel and producing
dihydrogen phosphate and a proton.
Reaction 2:

Catalytic nickel surface reacts with
hypophosphite depositing phosphorus and
producing adsorbed nickel hydroxide and a
hydroxide ion.
Reaction 3:

Hydrolyzed nickel species reacts with water
producing nickel hydroxide and a proton.
Reaction 1 and 3 compete:
Reaction 1 and 3 compete:

phosphorous in an electroless nickel bath continues
Reaction 4:

Hypophosphite reacts with a proton,
depositing phosphorus and producing
dihydrogen phosphate, water and hydrogen.
This is due to the cation build up in the
electroless nickel bath as it ages from 0-5
MTO.
As long as there is a constant supply of
adsorbed NiOH species on the catalytic surface
and reaction 1 takes place, the deposition of
phosphorus by reaction 2 cannot occur.
The metallic Nicat surface must be available
for a direct interaction with hypophosphite to
deposit phosphorus. When reaction 3 occurs,
the metallic catalytic nickel surface that was
previously covered by adsorbed NiOH species
is now free to interact with hypophosphite.
Any periodicity between reactions 1 and 3
will lead to a distinct layered structure within
the electroless nickel itself.
Now that we have an understanding
of how the phosphorous varies in the bulk
electroless nickel deposit, how can we measure
it accurately?

Figure 4: The lamellar structure within the
electroless nickel deposit (the electroless nickel is
sandwiched between the upper x-section potting
compound and the lower electroplated copper).
Note that the coupon was etched with a modified
Lepito’s etch solution.
66

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

Assume we have two measuring
instruments; one is quite accurate but is both
expensive to use and slow (scanning electron
microscope/energy dispersive x-ray, or SEM/
EDS), and the other is fast and less expensive to
use, but is also less accurate (x-ray fluorescence,
or XRF). Theoretically, the accuracy of the EDS
is ±5%, whereas the XRF may be as high at
±20%8. As a side note, strict protocol must be
used with XRF to measure phosphorous in the
electroless nickel9.
If the measurements obtained from the
two devices are highly correlated, then the
measurement that would have been made
using the expensive measuring device should
be predicted fairly well from the measurement
that is actually obtained using the less
expensive device. This is called calibration or
inverse regression10. Why not just use linear
regression? Because with linear regression
it is assumed that the X variable is able to
be held constant (no variance) and with
measurement equipment we have variance in
all measurements; calibration regression takes
this into account.
When we run simple correlation analysis
we can see that the correlation between the
XRF and the EDS = 0.985. With such high
correlation we can
employ calibration
regression. As a
general rule of
thumb, for linear
regression, we
should have a
minimum of five
degrees of freedom
(five more rows of
data than model
terms) to measure
the amount of
variation in the
response left
unexplained by
Table 1: The percent
the model. Others phosphorous in several
have suggested
different samples of an
~10 responses for
electroless nickel deposit
each parameter in as measured by SEM/EDS
the model to avoid and XRF.
over-fitting11.

phosphorous in an electroless nickel bath continues
For this example, seven samples are used.
When we regress the XRF on the EDS we
derive a simple linear regression (equation 1).
Note: coefficients are rounded off.
Equation 1:
XRF = 1.44 + 0.875*EDS
Through simple algebra we derive the
calibration (inverse) regression (equation 2).
Note: coefficients are rounded off.
Equation 2:
EDS = -1.65 + 1.14*XRF
With equation 2, we can develop 95%
intervals for both a single point estimate, the
prediction interval (PI), and a mean estimate—
the confidence interval (CI)—for our EDS
readings. Simply stated, the intervals give us a
range within which a single value (PI), or the
mean (CI) may be expected to fall, with 95%
confidence.
Now we can simply insert this equation
into an Excel file and achieve a predicted EDS
reading from the XRF reading instantaneously.
How do we track the phosphorus content
once we have measured it? The first step is
to make sure we understand the physical

system of how the phosphorous is deposited
in the electroless nickel. We know that bath
components, loading, agitation and vibration
influence the phosphorous content. And as the
electroless nickel bath ages, the phosphorous
content in the deposit increases (reaction 4).
The second step is to decide the primary
purpose of the control chart, and how we will
collect the data. Here are some options:
1. If our primary purpose is to make a
decision about the acceptance, or all boards
produced since the last sample, then we
could sample at specified MTO intervals of
the electroless nickel bath life, say 0, 1, 2,
3, 4, 5, or 0, 2 ½, 5, which would give us
subgroups of either 5 or 3 respectively. This
type of subgrouping is a random sample of all
process output over the sampling interval (the
electroless nickel bath life).
2. If our primary purpose is to detect
process shifts, then we could sample
consecutive boards produced at specified
MTO intervals of the electroless nickel bath
life, say three samples at each MTO of 0, 2 ½,
5, which would give us subgroups of 3. This
type of subgrouping gives us a snapshot of the
process at each point in time where a sample is
collected.
3. If our primary purpose is to plot and
track the phosphorous on a SPC chart, then
we could sample randomly at different MTOs.
This type of subgrouping (n = 1) is useful if we
are taking multiple measurements on the same
part.
Note: Regardless of which method is used,
there will always be some trade-offs.

Table 2: The equation inserted into an Excel
spreadsheet with both the prediction and
confidence intervals.
68

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

The third step is to understand how the
physical system and sampling scheme will
influence the SPC charts. As the phosphorous
content increases as the electroless nickel bath
ages, we have potential trend data, and we
must be careful. It is well known that trend
data is deleterious to SPC charts12 & 13.
If we collect data only at the beginning
or near the end-of-bath life of the electroless
nickel, we are likely to have non-normal data.
It is well known that non-normal data can

phosphorous in an electroless nickel bath continues
significantly alter the tail probabilities of the
control chart, generating significantly more
false alarm rates on either the lower control
limit (LCL) or the upper control limit (UCL),
while simultaneously significantly lowering
the ability of the opposite control limit to
even detect an out-of-control condition12, 13, &
14
. The debate rages on over the validity and
consequences of putting non-normal data on
a control chart that is based on normality.
Suffice it to say I am in the camp that believes
non-normal data does not belong on a normal
control chart.
Sampling with subgroups with n>1 takes
time and the process might have drifted out
of control before we have even obtained our
first subgroup! SPC charts based on subgroups
of n=1 are not as sensitive at detecting mean
shifts, and the normality assumption is far
more important since there is no centrallimit theorem-type effect with individual
observations; this may require a data
transformation.
The fourth step is to choose the appropriate
SPC chart. Let’s explore option 1 from above.
We know that it will take time to gather
enough subgroups to construct the SPC chart
and there is a chance that the process could
drift in and out of control before we have
our SPC chart constructed and have begun
monitoring the process. How can we work
around this shortcoming?
A useful statistical tool for this is a
tolerance interval. Tolerance intervals are
intervals that cover a proportion (p) of the
overall population with a given confidence
level (1-α).
Tolerance intervals differ in an important
way from confidence intervals (CI); tolerance
intervals are constructed to contain a specified
proportion of the population of individual
observations within a given confidence level. A
confidence interval is an interval of plausible
values for a population parameter, such as
the population mean (mu), with a specified
confidence level equal to the degree of
plausibility.
The endpoints of a tolerance interval are
called tolerance limits. The tolerance limits
may be compared with the specification limits

to judge the
process behavior
(e.g., are most
of the values
falling inside
the specification
limits?).
Normality of the
data is a strict
requirement
to construct
tolerance
intervals because
our focal point
is the tail areas of
the distribution.
If we collect
three samples
at each MTO
Figure 5: Phosphorous
from 0-5, we
readings from an electroless
should expect
nickel production bath
to see a normal
between 0-5 MTO (3
distribution. If
readings at each MTO).
we construct
a tolerance interval with 95% confidence
covering 95% of the population, then at any
time over the electroless nickel bath life we
can sample and test for phosphorous and we
should be within our interval 95% of the time.
In other words, with the tolerance interval
we can state that we are 95% confident that
95% of the population (of the phosphorous %
by weight in the electroless nickel deposit) is
between x1 and x2

Figure 6: The normal probability plot of the
phosphorous readings.
December 2011 • The PCB Magazine

69

phosphorous in an electroless nickel bath continues
Let’s take some actual data and see how it
applies (see Figure 5).
We can check the normality of the data
by graphing it on a probability plot (see
Figure 6).
The p-value is significantly above 0.05
and the data fits the diagonal line well (the
diagonal line represents a perfect fit), so we
can conclude that there is simply not enough
evidence to reject the normality requirements
and we can proceed with the calculation of the
tolerance interval. That calculated tolerance
interval is:
Tolerance Interval Type:
Two-sided
Confidence Level:
95%
Percent of Population in Interval:
95%
N:
18
Mean:
8.4
0.73
StDev:
Tolerance Interval:
6.3 to 10.4
We match up very well to the ASTM
definition of a mid-phosphorous electroless
nickel bath, and are well within the empirical
range determined for excellent solder joint
integrity3, 4, 5. Now we can randomly sample
at any time, measure the phosphorous and
quickly determine the pulse of the process.
Any value outside of the tolerance interval
should be investigated.
For our process, we are not only concerned
with acceptance of all boards produced since
the last sample, but we are also concerned with
both the between- and within-variance of the
nickel baths. That is, every time we make up a
new nickel bath we would like to measure the
between-variance of these baths, along with
the within-variance of each bath. The control
chart for this application is the BetweenWithin Chart 13, 15.
We’ll sample at 0, 2 ½ and 5 MTO and
use these as a subgroup of three. Strict XFR
measurement protocol must be used, which
cannot be overemphasized9. Data collected is
shown in Figure 7.
Now we can plot the data on the betweenwithin chart and ascertain the stability of the
process in regards to the phosphorus content
in the electroless nickel bath (see Figure 8).
70

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

Figure 7: The phosphorous readings from 15
nickel baths at 0, 2 ½ and 5 MTO.
We can apply numerous statistical tests
to the control chart to determine if there are
any detectable special causes of variation12, 13.
Minitab® software allows the user to apply
up to eight specific tests for special causes
of variation15. These statistical tests look for
special causes (non-random variation), with
each individual test looking for a specific
pattern in the data, which if detected should
be investigated.
The subgroup mean chart (top) has no
violations of the eight special causes of
variation tests; the between-bath moving range
chart (middle) and the within- bath moving
range chart (bottom) have no violations.
Furthermore, the between-within charts show
good stability. Common cause variation
appears to be the only source of variation
within the plotted data; hence, we can
conclude the process is in control.

phosphorous in an electroless nickel bath continues

Figure 8: The Between-Within control chart.
Electroless nickel baths are complex process
systems with many inputs that influence the
phosphorous content in the nickel deposit,
that is, Y = f(x1, x2…xn), where n = numerous
factors and interactions.
Electroless nickel baths require good
process control for proper operation and
consistency from bath to bath. Understanding,
measuring and tracking the phosphorous in
the electroless nickel deposit gives us a good
overall indication of how well the process is
being controlled, and good control is directly
related to reliability.
References:
1. IPC Statistical Program for the
Worldwide Process Consumables Industries,
Results for 4th quarter 2010.
2. ASTM International B733-04 (2009)
Standard Specification for Autocatalytic
(Electroless) Nickel-Phosphorous Coating
72

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

on Metal.
3. Dong-Jun Lee, Hyo S. Lee, “Major factors
to the solder joint strength of ENIG layer in FC
BGA package”. Microelectronics Reliability 46
(2006) 1119–1127.
4. F.D. Bruce Houghton, “Solving the
ENIG Black Pad Problem: An ITRI Report on
Round 2”. Proceedings of IPC Works ’99, Oct.
23-28, 1999, Minneapolis, MN, pp. S-04-3-1 to
S-04-3-9.
5. Mei, Zequin, et. al. “The effect
of Electroless Ni/Immersion Au Plating
Parameters on PBGA Solder Joint Attachment
Reliability”. IPC National Conference
Proceedings: A summit on PWB Surface
Finishes and Solderability, September 22-23,
1998, Austin, Texas, pp. 19-42.
6. Mallory, G., Hajdu, J. et al., (1979).
Electroless Plating Fundamentals and
Applications, Noyes Publications/William
Andrew Publishing, LLC, Norwich, NY.

phosphorous in an electroless nickel bath continues
7. OMG internal testing and analytical
methods development.
8. Conversations with Lisa Gamza, OMG
Senior Materials Scientist.
9. IPC-4552 ENIG Specification.
10. Ryan, T. (2009). Modern Regression
Methods, 2nd Edition, Wiley & Sons Inc.,
Hoboken, NJ.
11. Launsby, R., and Schmidt, S.
(2005). Understanding Industrial Designed
Experiments, 4th Edition, Air Academy Press,
Colorado Springs, CO.
12. Ryan, T. (2000). Statistical Methods for
Quality Improvement, 2nd Edition, Wiley &
Sons Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
13. Montgomery, D. (2009). Introduction
to Statistical Quality Control, 6th Edition,
Wiley & Sons Inc., Hoboken, NJ.

14. Yourstone, S. A. and W. J. Zimmer,
“Non-normality and the Design of Control
Charts for Averages.” Decision Sciences 23
(1992) 1099-1113.
15. Minitab ® 16 Software.
Patrick Valentine is the North
American PCB and EP&F business
manager for OMG Electronic
Chemicals and has been with the
company since 1991. He holds
a Master’s degree in business
from Regent University, earned his Six Sigma
master black belt certification from Arizona
State University, and is an ASQ certified Six
Sigma black belt. Contact Valentine at patrick.
[email protected]

Lazer-Tech Names Zaino Production Manager
Zanio has spent over 20 years in the
production of PCBs most of that time with
Century Circuits, and most recently with
Milplex Circuits Canada. His reputation for
always going the extra mile is well known
in the greater Toronto Region, as is his
enthusiasm for doing things right the first
time.
Talking about joining Lazer-Tech,
Zanio commented “I really feel like I’ve come
home, finally! The way that Jamie and the
team feel about servicing their customers is
completely aligned with the way I feel. That
makes my job so much easier. I am very
happy to be working with a company whose
passion for customer service and satisfaction
matches my own.”
Based in Toronto, Lazer-Tech is one of the
founding PCB manufacturers in the North
America and a leading supplier of highquality, multilayer PCBs, servicing customers
in the commercial, communication,
computer, aviation, medical and military
marketplaces.
December 2011 • The PCB Magazine

73

short

Jamie Armitage, owner and president
of Lazer-Tech Canada, has announced the
appointment of Enrico (Rico) Zaino as the
company’s new production manager. In his
position, Zanio will be responsible for all
production functions, including maintaining
100% on-time delivery performance as well
as managing, measuring and motivating all
production supervisors and their respective
departments.
Making the announcement, Armitage
said, “This is a great step for us! Rico is
exactly the kind of production expert we
need at Lazer-Tech if we want to maintain
the highest delivery and quality standards.
His commitment to customer service is
extraordinary, as is his commitment to
giving our customers the top notch service
that Lazer-Tech is known for. We are
strongly committed to on-time delivery
with no excuses and no exceptions. Rico
understands this commitment and is
absolutely passionate about making it
happen.”

news

Top
Ten
Most-Read News Highlights
from PCB007 this Month
BPA: Metal in the
a

Board

An Inside Look: EIPC 2011
c

Autumn Conference, Day 1

The increasing spread and sophistication of
wireless communications as the preferred
alternative to the wired world, as well as
the drive toward hybrid/electrical power for
transport, are presenting challenges that are
moving insulated metal substrate (IMS) and
metal core PCB (MCPCB) from niche markets to
high-volume, mainstream applications.

Basel, Switzerland was the venue for EIPC’s
2011 Autumn Conference, themed Strategic
Technologies and Industry Challenges for
Business Success in Europe. The show attracted
representatives from 11 countries and Editor Pete
Starkey breaks down each presentation from a few
of the best in the industry.

A British Ink-Jet Printer
b

for the Small PCB Shop
Editor Pete Starkey is always interested to hear
about something new, and when Viking Test
announced their CircaPrint 5070 digital ink-jet
printing system, he took the opportunity to visit
Viking’s headquarters in Hampshire, UK, to take
a look.

74

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

An Inside Look: EIPC 2011
d

Autumn Conference, Day 2
Editor Pete Starkey breaks down the additional
13 technical presentations offered during Day
2 of EIPC’s 2011 Autumn Conference: Themed
Strategic Technologies and Industry Challenges
for Business Success in Europe. Starkey was
impressed with the quality and depth of each
topic discussed.

What’s Your PCB IQ? —
e

What the Flux?
It’s a fluxing jungle out there! With thousands
of different fluxes to choose from, what’s an
engineer to do? Take the Printed Circuit Girls and
Geeks’ 10-question pop quiz and clear up your
fluxing confusion.

North American vs. Asian
f

Fabricators
Marissa Oskarsen, president of Printed Circuit
Girls and Geeks, discusses a few of the differences
between North American and Asian fabricators.
She says many Asian shops have stepped
up customer service—and North American
companies need to do the same.

An Inside Look: ICT
g

Darlington Seminar 2011
The Institute of Circuit Technology 2011
Darlington Seminar, held November 1, 2011, was
once again organised by ICT Technical Director
Bill Wilkie. The seminar offered an excellent
programme that attracted an attentive crowd of
PCB fabricators and suppliers. Editor Pete Starkey
reports.

Conversations with…
h

Circuit Technology


Services

When you talk with CEO Brad Kurrell of Circuit
Technology Services, you are immediately struck
by his passion and his spirit of optimism. This is a
man who truly loves what he does, every day. He
recently sat down with Marcy LaRont to share his
business outlook, and his passion for his company
and the industry.

PCB Makers Defy Weak
i

Economy
While the global economy and many companies
stocks continue to sputter, some companies in
the PCB industry have been making significant
gains and performing well.

LaRont Takes You Inside
j

the TPCA Show
With 35% (a conservative estimate) of electronics
in China coming from Taiwanese companies,
one might question how relevant Taiwan is in
the Chinese electronics scene. But the “Taiwan
question,” or perhaps more accurately stated,
the “Taiwan versus China question,” is worth
attention and discussion.

PCB007.com
December 2011 • The PCB Magazine

75

s u mmar y
the sales cycle
col u mn

We Are Tired
of Being
Screwed!

At a time when Americans are fed up
with the status quo in corporate America,
companies seem to be doing very little
to change the customer experience. As
consumers, we should only reward those
companies that take great care of us,
unlike the few I mention here. Business
leaders, are you listening?

by Barry Matties
I-Connect007

Dear Reader:
If you’re looking for
this month’s column, you
won’t find it here. This
month, I wrote a very
passionate column on the
topic of customer service—
a column in which I used
a four-letter word. Many
of you may use this word,
but, then again, a few of
you might be offended to
find it in the pages of a
technology magazine. The
editorial team wanted to
change this offending word
to one that would be less
offensive, but
I declined.
So, click here to view the column in all its
glory. Remember, you’ve been warned.
If you really need your fix of The Sales
Cycle, feel free to read a few of my past
columns…
Alignment—The Truth is the Truth
Employees need to be heard and listened
to, even when their leaders may not want to
hear it. These truths are not something you
learn from a suggestion box or water cooler
gossip. In fact, the truth has to be something
that is carefully learned because, often, it is so
closely tied to great emotion.
Don’t Waste Your Competitive
Advantage
Your Web site is an incredibly powerful
tool. In the hands of a master, it will perform
76

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

as well or, most likely, better
than any other tool you have.
The question is: How do you
determine the effectiveness
of your site?
China…It’s Not a War,
Just a Battle
Some viewing our
current job situation would
say that it not a war, but,
rather, more of a battle
where no human lives are
lost—a battle of economic
consequences. Certainly
many lives have been
impacted as a result of this
economic battle we have with
China.
Yes, I Would Hire Steve Jobs
As a board fabricator or assembler, what
makes you different? Location certainly is
not an advantage. A low price, at the
sacrifice of profit, is certainly no advantage.
Offering a quality product is something
everyone does. On-time delivery is not a
marketing message; it’s a requirement for
keeping customers. So what is it? What
makes you special?
NEPCON China Review
In addition to show floor activities, a
number of technical sessions were offered at
NEPCON China. Organized in cooperation
with the SMTAI, the conference program
provided attendees a wide range of topics.
The 5th annual SMT China Vision Awards were
also presented.

How Was the Show For You?
At this event, the crowd was very
energized. From the first day through the
closing bell, people were busy conducting
business. Deals were made, equipment was
sold and the industry was smiling again.
I’ll Take Super Computers for
$2,000, Alex
The answer is: IBM has changed the world,
again, with this new super computer. What is
Watson? That is correct! Jeopardy has changed
the world as we know it—and it’s nothing
short of amazing.
Magnetic Marketing
The power of attraction goes a long way
in business. Learn about magnetic marketing
and why your company needs to rise
above competitors by telling an attractive,
compelling story.
On the Front Lines
In the war for market share and mind
share, savvy marketers must learn how to
create memorable messages that stick in the
minds of their prospects.

How Do Sales Reps Represent You?
Sales reps are important, especially for
smaller companies that cannot have direct
representation in all market regions. Find out
how to agree on goals and measure the value
of your sales rep. SMT

Barry Matties started in PCB
manufacturing in the early
1980s. In 1987, he co-founded
CircuiTree Magazine. Nearly 13
years later, CircuiTree was sold
as the leading publication in the industry. In
the early 2000s Barry and his former CircuiTree partner, Ray Rasmussen, joined forces
again and acquired PCB007. Over the years,
PCB007 has grown and continues to thrive. In
July of last year, Barry and Ray acquired SMT
Magazine. With his many years of business
leadership skills, Barry now produces this column for anyone who has a desire for success.
The column relates 25 years of successful
business leadership, including marketing and
selling strategies that really work. Read a few
and decide for yourself.

Camtek Unveils Next-Gen AOI for PCB, IC Substrates
models, provides our customers with even better priceperformance, thus making it an attractive choice to meet
all their inspection needs.”
The Phoenix product family is enhanced with
Spark—Camtek’s unique and powerful detection engine
providing high detection capabilities, while minimizing
false calls. Spark’s open architecture software enables
easy adaptation to new applications and technology,
and supports critical dimensions detection.
Camtek addresses the specific needs of the
semiconductor, PCB and IC substrates industries with
dedicated solutions based on a wide and advanced
platform of technologies, including intelligent imaging,
image processing, ion milling and digital material
deposition. Ranging from micro-to-nano, Camtek
provides a complete solution for the whole production
cycle of all electronic devices including smartphones,
tablets and other cutting edge consumer products and
applications.

December 2011 • The PCB Magazine

77

short

Camtek Ltd, a leading provider of automated
solutions dedicated for enhancing production processes
and yield for the semiconductor manufacturing and
packaging, and the PCB and IC substrate industries,
today announced the launch of the Phoenix product
family: The next generation of Automatic Optical
Inspection (AOI) systems for the PCB and IC Substrates
industry.
The Phoenix product family is designed to support
a broad range of the most demanding PCB and IC
substrate applications, while keeping in pace with the
PCB market’s dynamic technology changes.
“The Phoenix product family was designed
to increase our customer’s AOI room total yield,”
commented Camtek CEO Roy Porat. “The Phoenix
offers exceptional performance in all AOI aspects. These
include detection, minimum false calls, as well as quick
and easy setup and high throughput. This new system’s
higher-end positioning, compared with our previous

calendar

EVENTS
• IPC Complete Calendar of Events
• SMTA Calendar of Events
• iNEMI Calendar
• PCB007 Online Events
IPC Conference for the PCB Industry:
Critical Issues for the Military Market
December 8, 2011
Embassy Suites Washington,
D.C. — Convention Center,
900 10th Street NW,
Washington, D.C. 20001
ICBME 2011
December 10 - 12, 2011
Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal,
Karnataka, India
Source India 2011
December 14, 2011
Convention Centre, Chennai Trade Centre
Chennai, India
2012 INTERNATIONAL CES
January 10 - 13, 2012
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

78

The PCB Magazine • December 2011

41st INTERNEPCON JAPAN
January 18 - 20, 2012
Tokyo Big Sight, Japan
29th ELECTROTEST JAPAN
January 18 - 20, 2012
Tokyo Big Sight, Japan
13th IC PACKAGING TECHNOLOGY EXPO
January 18 - 20, 2012
Tokyo Big Sight, Japan
PWB EXPO
January 18 - 20, 2012
Tokyo Big Sight, Japan
ELE TRADE
January 18 - 20, 2012
Tokyo Big Sight, Japan
CAR-ELE JAPAN
January 18 - 20, 2012
Tokyo Big Sight, Japan
MATERIAL JAPAN
January 18 - 20, 2012
Tokyo Big Sight, Japan
LIGHTING JAPAN
January 18 - 20, 2012
Tokyo Big Sight, Japan

TECHNICAL EDITOR: PETE STARKEY
+44 (0) 1455 293333; [email protected]

PUBLISHER: RAY RASMUSSEN
(916) 294-7147; [email protected]

MAGAZINE PRODUCTION CREW:

SALES: Angela Alexander
(408) 915-2198; [email protected]

PRODUCTION MANAGER: Mike Radogna
[email protected]
MAGAZINE LAYOUT: RON MEOGROSSI

EDITORIAL:

GROUP EDITORIAL DIRECTOR: RAY RASMUSSEN
(916) 294-7147; [email protected]

AD DESIGN: Mike Radogna, BRYSON MATTIES,

MANAGING EDITOR: Lisa Lucke
(209) 304-4011; [email protected]

INnovative TECHNOLOGY: BRYSON MATTIES

PCB007 Presents

masthead

PUBLISHER: Barry Matties
[email protected]

Shelly Stein
cover: Mike Radogna

The PCB Magazine® is published by BR Publishing, Inc., PO Box 50, Seaside, OR 97138
©2011 BR Publishing, Inc. does not assume and hereby disclaims any liability to any person for loss or
damage caused by errors or omissions in the material contained within this publication, regardless of
whether such errors or omissions are caused accidentally, from negligence or any other cause.
December 2011, Volume 1, Number 9 • The PCB Magazine© is published monthly, by BR Publishing, Inc.

Ad Index
atg Luther & Maelzer GmbH....... 53
Atotech......................................... 2
Bürkle North America.................. 45
CA Picard.................................... 51
Electra Polymers Ltd.................... 21
Fein-Line Assoc............................ 49
Integral Technology..................... 17
I-Connect007....................... 65, 71
IPC............................................. 67
Maskless Lithography.................. 15
Microcraft................................... 27
MicronSi Inc............................... 35
OEM Press Systems..................... 25
Ohmega Technologies, Inc.......... 13
OMG Electronic Chemicals.......... 59
Rogers Corp................................ 41
Semblant...................................... 5
Taiyo-America............................. 39
Technica, USA.............................. 7
Ventec........................................ 29

Start the New Year out right
with the January issue of
The PCB Magazine!
Our first issue of 2012 features a look
forward to the coming year with predictions and analyses of ongoing trends,
new developments, market predictions,
technology reports and more. Look for
feature articles by Creative Materials, Inc.,
Nordson MARCH, Mentor Graphics and
Downstream Technologies, in addition to
a few regular columnists (Barry Olney, Gray
McQuarrie) who follow up their December retrospective pieces with a forecast of
what’s to come.
There’s always more, so don’t miss it!
This year, it’s going to be different! Click
here to get The PCB Magazine delivered to
your inbox every month.

Viking Test Ltd............................ 37

December 2011 • The PCB Magazine

79

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