PCB Chat

PCB Chat

Recorded conversations and interviews on electronics design and manufacturing with the editors of PCD&F/Circuits Assembly, brought to you by the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (PCEA)


May 20, 2024 76 mins

We’ve discussed the silver tsunami on the show numerous times, the unprecedented rate of which employees are retiring. When engineers and other employees retire from companies, they take with them more than a set of gold cufflinks or an engraved plaque. In many cases, they also take with them wisdom and knowledge. Perhaps this is never truer than in the case of Mike Konrad's guest today. And who is that? Doug Pauls. Pauls hol...

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Businesses are not immune to the many complex social situations present on many prominent college campuses today. Executives and managers must grasp with how best to understand the changing environment as part of their talent acquisition and talent building processes, and implement those methods in practical ways to accommodate today's employees' life cycle. 

Audrey McGuckin is a global HR executive who for more than 25 years has l...

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This episode was recorded at SMTA's Pan Pacific Strategic Electronics Symposium on the Big Island of Hawaii. Mike Konrad's guests on this episode are Dr. Chuck Bauer, founder of PanPac, Keith Bryant, and Dr. Ron Lasky. We discussed the history of PanPac, technologies introduced at PanPac, and what makes PanPac so unique. We also discuss Dartmouth College's unique engineering innovations program.


Chapters: 00:00:00 - Introduct...

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Optimization has become an important goal within the electronics assembly industry. While modern electronics assembly techniques utilize a variety of equipment, one specific type of equipment often consumes a disproportionate percentage of the overall equipment budget, that is the place machine. The cost of the machine, associated conveyors and feeders, require that the machine is running as often as possible. The airline indust...

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Electronic System Design (ESD) industry revenue increased 14% to $4.4 billion in the fourth quarter 2023, with printed circuit board design software leading the way, up 21% for the period. 

Wally Rhines, executive sponsor of the SEMI Electronic Design Market Data report, gives his quarterly update on the state of the electronics design software market.

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The High-Density Packaging User Group, the nonprofit consortium of electronics manufacturers and suppliers that collaborate on various technical problems in order to reduce cost and time to market, has nearly 25 projects underway, several of which are due to be completed this year.

We spoke this month with Madan Jagernauth, marketing director and project facilitator of HDP, about their current research on lead-free solder alloys, t...

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Today, we delve into an increasingly critical aspect of technology and electronics manufacturing - the pursuit of environmentally responsible electronics manufacturing. Our industry has witnessed many environmental revolutions.  The elimination of popular cleaning solvents brought on by the Montreal Protocol in 1989, soon followed by strict VOC regulations pertaining to cleaning chemicals. The switch from lead-based solders t...

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Matthias Wagner is chief executive and cofounder of Flux, a developer of a browser-based PCB design platform and programmable simulator.

When spoke with Matthias last spring, the company was introducing Flux Copilot, an AI-powered hardware design assistant. Flux Copilot uses a large language model that the company’s engineers trained and integrated into its design tool.

Flux recently added vision capability to its signature tool, w...

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Today we're diving deep into the world of precision and craftsmanship—two crucial elements in the realm of hand soldering and rework of circuit assemblies. Whether you're a seasoned electronics enthusiast, a hobbyist, or just someone with a curious mind, this episode promises to demystify the art and science behind hand soldering and rework. We'll be exploring the latest tools, techniques, and trends that define this intricate p...

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Today, we delve into the crucial aspects of maintaining well-being on this journey — how to sidestep the notorious burnout, and perhaps more importantly, how to fuel and maintain your motivation. Because, let's face it, the road to creating a meaningful impact can be demanding, and it's essential to navigate it with resilience and purpose. Join Mike Konrad for a conversation with Rick Coulson. Rick recently retired from a 34-yea...

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We welcome back one of our favorite guests, David Schild, the executive director of the Printed Circuit Board Association of America. PCBAA was founded about three years ago to advance US domestic production of PCBs and base materials. The organization is made up of corporate members of all sizes, and includes fabricators, assemblers and suppliers.

Schild brings us up to date on the US Department of Defense's National Defense Indus...

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Artificial intelligence is perhaps the most discussed – and least understood – topic in technology today.

We in electronics design and manufacturing know, of course, that automation is part and parcel of what we do. But while the landscape has changed, be it the transition from mechanical drawings to CAD tools with their autorouters, or from manual and semi-automatic printers and placement machines to lights-out factories where cob...

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Reliability Matters covered the topic of ultrathin conformal coatings back in November. We covered various conformal coating materials from traditional acrylics and silicones to ultrathin parylene coatings. What other coating materials are available? Where do these types of coatings fit within specific applications? Where do health and safety, environmental concerns, and sustainability programs fit in with a coating process?

To ans...

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EMA Design Automation has for years been the exclusive distributor of OrCAD Cadence in North America. Through acquisitions and internal development, EMA now has a series of its own software products for library management, component supply chain data. And this year EMA announced it would spin off those CAD-agnostic products into a new subsidiary called Accelerated Designs.

EMA president and founder Manny Marcano joins Mike Buetow t...

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Printed circuit board and multichip module design software revenue soared 24% year-over-year to a record $426 million in the third quarter 2023, according to the ESD Alliance's latest Electronic Design Market Data (EDMD) report.

ESD Alliance spokesperson Wally Rhines joins Mike Buetow to explain the latest data trends.

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In today's increasingly connected and digital world, PCBs are the unsung heroes that power our devices, from smartphones to spacecraft. Yet, the art and science of designing these crucial components often go unnoticed. That’s where this episode comes in.   Today, we shine a spotlight on the critical role PCBs play in modern technology and explore the best practices that drive innovation and reliability. In this episode, Mike K...

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December 26, 2023 8 mins

Episode 134 - 2023 Podcast Season Wrap-Up

On this episode, I have no guests as this is the final episode of the Reliability Matters Podcast for the 2023 season. Instead, let's review what happened on the podcast this year. A special thanks to my guests and listeners/viewers for making this podcast so successful.


Chapters: 00:00:00 - Introduction to Reliability Matters Podcast

00:00:12 - The Electronic Assembly Industry Techniques


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We are all aware of the damage electrostatic discharge can wreak on components and electronic products. We mitigate ESD damage through various forms of monitoring. We wear wrist and heel straps, stand on ESD-safe flooring, utilize ESD workstations, and more. We even have ESD testing locations that will test a human standing on a specialized testing station. But what happens the moment that person steps off the tester? My guests ...

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David Schild is executive director of the Printed Circuit Board Association of America. PCBAA was founded in 2021 to advance US domestic production of PCBs and base materials. 

We discuss major investment announcements by US PCB companies, industry funding from the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, the need for intense engagement at every level of government, and the latest on the Protecting Printed Circuit Boards and Substrates...

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December 5, 2023 25 mins

Robert Feranec is a hardware designer with over 20 years’ experience in the electronics industry, and specializes in PCB design, signal integrity and high-speed digital design. In addition, he is also a self-described passionate content creator on YouTube, where he has developed a large series of help-guides for PCB design and electronics engineering. His company, FEDEVEL Academy, also provides courses on electronics design.

We tal...

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