Compelling article about Plant Culture and it’s affect on quality, output and predictability

Compelling article about Plant Culture and it’s affect on quality, output and predictability

November 10, 2015 in Industry News

In today’s manufacturing environment where it is difficult to find qualified team members, the article below written by Andy Thomson of EchoStar, is more important than ever. Companies that nurture a culture where all employees share in the common goal and all are treated equally on the path to that goal hold a strong advantage over their competitors.

Tramonto Circuits believes in this premise and has a unique training and hiring plan that places a priority on people that fit our culture first and the skills that may lack are trained. This has created a positive environment that focuses on customer and industry requirements and allows us to cross train effectively, all with a common goal in mind. Our customer’s satisfaction!

We will address this topic in a future blog article on 11/17/15, stay tuned for more.

The culture of any organization influences the net output of any product or service it produces. That being said, the manufacturing of products brings complexity with an order of magnitude that can affect the net output at any given point along the build cycle, starting with the sub-component supply chain to final pack. Manifestations of breakdowns along this chain are failure to make schedule, poor quality, scrap, excess labor (rework) and field returns. External ramifications are loss of revenue, loss of customers and inability to win new customers. In this article, I will try to show the interrelationship between a plant’s culture and its final product, which are not only the shippable goods, but also customer service, revenue and profit. The four cornerstones to a manufacturing plant’s culture are discipline, training/tools, motivation (plant citizenship), and self-worth.

Read the article here

Understand Electrical Specifications for Better Flexible Circuit Design

Understand Electrical Specifications for Better Flexible Circuit Design

November 3, 2015 in Design Tips

Understand Electrical Specifications for Better Flexible Circuit Design

Electricity is fundamental for every flexible circuit, which is why accurate electrical specifications are critical to designing a circuit that meets application needs. These specifications include current carrying capacity, impedance control, EMI shields, and embedded resistive and inductive patterns.

Printed circuit boards (PCBs) set the standard for how electrical considerations are specified. Using PCBs as a reference, we’ll explore design techniques for flexible circuits along with some of the tools available to assist in accurate design the first time.

Current Carrying Capacity of Flexible Circuits

 Carrying high currents through a flexible circuit can be a point of concern for designers, but it doesn’t have to be. Flexible circuits use copper conductors just as their rigid cousins do. To carry more current, increase the trace width, thickness or both. Keep in mind that when current travels through a copper conductor, the energy expelled is heat. Most charts or trace calculators will advise how much the temperature will rise above ambient for each trace width, to allow a confident design with minimal effect on surrounding components.

Impedance Control on Flexible Circuits

 Impedance controlled signals are necessary in today’s high-speed circuits. Whether a design requires embedded microstrip, stripline or simple matched signal lengths, flexible circuit design uses the same methods and formulas as PCBs. The differences are the dielectric constant of the materials and the inherent decreased distance between copper layers. Flexible circuits require a little more attention around trace width and available material thicknesses.

EMI Shields on Flexible Circuits

 Some circuit designs require protection for sensitive signals from external and internal “noise” sources. Similar to printed circuit boards, ground layers and loops ensure noise does not affect performance of flexible circuits. The ground layers or shield layers may use a cross hatch design if frequency allows, or may be solid planes similar to traditional PCBs. One advantage that flexible circuits have in this regard is they can be completely surrounded with conductive foil to provide shielding even on the edges. This method is sometimes used to emulate shielded cable.

Embedded Resistive and Inductive Patterns on Flexible Circuits

 Embedded resistive patterns may be used for signal delay and inductive patterns for consistency in transmitter or receiver circuits. Both are used only after compromise has been made with available circuit real estate vs. cost of passive components. The same design methods used to create these patterns on PCBs may be used for flexible circuits. There are some specific flexible circuit design considerations to take into account.

The one drawback to inductive patterns on flexible circuit material would be how many layers of copper coils can be used. It’s simple to manufacture a PCB with 6, 8 or 10 layers of copper. However, it’s much more difficult to achieve those layer counts on flexible circuits without significant increase in cost. Resistive patterns, on the other hand, pose no design problems and are achieved as easily on polyimide (flexible) material as they can on FR4 materials.

By better understanding electrical considerations, designers and engineers can collaborate to ensure flexible circuits are designed right for application the first time. Learn more about Tramonto’s expertise of flexible circuits and design here.

N.A. PCB Outlook Remains Positive Amid Weak January Shipments

N.A. PCB Outlook Remains Positive Amid Weak January Shipments

March 9, 2015 in Industry News

IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced today the January findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Despite sluggish sales and orders in January, the positive book-to-bill ratios of the past four months indicate sales growth in the first half of 2015.

JanuaryPCBShipments1.jpg

Total North American PCB shipments decreased 2.0 percent in January 2015 from January 2014. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments were down 11.6 percent.

PCB bookings decreased by 2.9 percent compared to January 2014. Orders declined 6.8 percent in January compared to the previous month.

The North American PCB book-to-bill ratio decreased but remained positive at 1.01 in January.

“January 2015 PCB business in North America was down slightly from January 2014, but the book-to-bill ratio and other leading indicators continue to offer hope of some renewed growth in 2015,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research.

JanuaryPCBShipments2.jpg

Detailed Data Available

The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed January data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available the week of March 9, 2015. The monthly report presents detailed findings on rigid PCB and flexible circuit sales and orders, including separate rigid and flex book-to-bill ratios, military and medical market growth, demand for prototypes, and other timely data. This report is available free to current participants in IPC’s PCB Statistical Program and by subscription to others. More information about this report can be found at www.ipc.org/market-research-reports.

Interpreting the Data

The book-to-bill ratios are calculated by dividing the value of orders booked over the past three months by the value of sales billed during the same period from companies in IPC’s survey sample. A ratio of more than 1.00 suggests that current demand is ahead of supply, which is a positive indicator for sales growth over the next three to six months. A ratio of less than 1.00 indicates the reverse.

Year-on-year and year-to-date growth rates provide the most meaningful view of industry growth. Month-to-month comparisons should be made with caution as they reflect seasonal effects and short-term volatility. Because bookings tend to be more volatile than shipments, changes in the book-to-bill ratios from month to month might not be significant unless a trend of more than three consecutive months is apparent. It is also important to consider changes in both bookings and shipments to understand what is driving changes in the book-to-bill ratio.

IPC’s monthly PCB industry statistics are based on data provided by a representative sample of both rigid PCB and flexible circuit manufacturers selling in the USA and Canada. IPC publishes the PCB book-to-bill ratio at the end of each month. Statistics for the current month are available in the last week of the following month.

DuPont Intros Pyralux High Temp Flex Circuit Material System

DuPont Intros Pyralux High Temp Flex Circuit Material System

February 19, 2015 in Industry News

This is very good news for flexible circuit and flexible heater manufacturers. We still need to see the specifications to better understand the lamination process, but this allows flexible circuits to go into high temp areas that were previously unattainable.

DuPont Circuit & Packaging Materials (DuPont) today announced the launch of its DuPont™ Pyralux® high temperature (HT) flexible circuit material system.  Pyralux HT has an service temperature of 225º Celsius, the highest of any flexible circuit material system available today. The Pyralux® HT service temperature enables designers to use flexible circuits for the first time in high-temperature environments such as aerospace and automotive engines, brakes and transmissions, and downhole pumps for oil and gas drilling. DuPont will feature Pyralux® HT, as well as the rest of its innovative portfolio of flexible circuit solutions, at the IPC APEX Conference & Exhibition in San Diego, Calif., from Feb. 24-26, 2015, in booth #1932.

The Pyralux® HT bonding film is part of the HT flexible laminate system that  has the highest service temperature of any flexible circuit material system available today.

“The Pyralux® HT system opens new doors for the use of flexible circuits,” said Mark T. Dirks, global segment leader, DuPont Circuit & Packaging Materials.  “Designers concerned about high temperatures in demanding environments now have an innovative new material that can withstand heat and has the reliability they know they can expect from DuPont materials.”

The all-polyimide Pyralux® HT flexible circuit material system has a service temperature of 225º Celsius (437º Fahrenheit), the highest of any flexible circuit material system.  The system includes a double-sided copper-clad laminate and a unique all-polyimide bonding film that becomes a flexible coverlay after processing.  Offered in a full range of dielectric thicknesses, the Pyralux® HT system provides designers, fabricators and assemblers a versatile option for a wide variety of flexible circuit constructions.

DuPont set the standard for flexible circuit materials more than 20 years ago with the introduction of the Pyralux® AP flexible circuit material system.  The Pyralux® portfolio enables the design of increasingly complex circuits with greater functional capacity, while providing the high reliability, excellent quality and consistency that the industry requires.

DuPont Circuit & Packaging Materials offers a broad and growing portfolio of products including dry film photoresists and phototooling films for Printed Circuit Board (PCB) imaging, polyimide films, flexible circuit materials, embedded passive materials and thermal substrates for LED lighting.

North American PCB Growth Flat in 2014

North American PCB Growth Flat in 2014

February 3, 2015 in Industry News

IPC announced today the December findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. PCB sales and bookings ended 2014 about even with 2013, but positive book-to-bill ratios in the fourth quarter signal sales growth in 2015.

Total North American PCB shipments increased 3.4 percent in December 2014 from December 2013, bringing year-to-date shipment growth to -0.8 percent. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments were up 6.4 percent.

PCB bookings increased by 7.9 percent compared to December 2013, improving the year-to-date order growth rate to 0.6 percent. Orders grew 13.4 percent in December compared to the previous month.

The North American PCB book-to-bill ratio strengthened to 1.07 in December.

 

“PCB business in North America was virtually flat in 2014 compared to the previous year,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “Sales ended the year less than one percentage point below 2013, while orders finished the year just 0.6 percent above 2013. Strong orders in the fourth quarter have kept the book-to-bill ratio solidly in positive territory,” she added, “which bodes well for sales growth in 2015.”

Detailed Data Available

The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed December data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available the week of February 2, 2015. The monthly report presents detailed findings on rigid PCB and flexible circuit sales and orders, including separate rigid and flex book-to-bill ratios, military and medical market growth, demand for prototypes, and other timely data. This report is available free to current participants in IPC’s PCB Statistical Program and by subscription to others. More information about this report can be found here.

Interpreting the Data

The book-to-bill ratios are calculated by dividing the value of orders booked over the past three months by the value of sales billed during the same period from companies in IPC’s survey sample. A ratio of more than 1.00 suggests that current demand is ahead of supply, which is a positive indicator for sales growth over the next three to six months. A ratio of less than 1.00 indicates the reverse.

Year-on-year and year-to-date growth rates provide the most meaningful view of industry growth. Month-to-month comparisons should be made with caution as they reflect seasonal effects and short-term volatility. Because bookings tend to be more volatile than shipments, changes in the book-to-bill ratios from month to month might not be significant unless a trend of more than three consecutive months is apparent. It is also important to consider changes in both bookings and shipments to understand what is driving changes in the book-to-bill ratio.

IPC’s monthly PCB industry statistics are based on data provided by a representative sample of both rigid PCB and flexible circuit manufacturers selling in the USA and Canada. IPC publishes the PCB book-to-bill ratio at the end of each month. Statistics for the current month are available in the last week of the following month.

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