An emphasis on speed – same day turns! – keeps Green Circuits’ customers coming back.
When we last visited Green Circuits, in late 2018, the company was just coming off its merger with Power Design Services. As we reported at the time, it was a $50 million entity with over 200 staff, and had just doubled its SMT capacity.
Much has changed in the ensuing five years: size (bigger), staffing (smaller), management (new). What hasn’t, however, is the emphasis on speed and high-complexity board assembly. Indeed, the EMS has leaned into those challenges and is now perhaps as good as anyone in North America in that regard.
PCBAA's executive director lauds recent funding wins but says the heavy lifting remains.
Year-end is typically not the time when big announcements are made, but the news came fast and furious in November as TTM Technologies and Calumet Electronics both announced plans for new factories. Coupled with the opening of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories' new fab in Idaho and the not-so-secret plant Starlink is building in Austin, one would have to return to early 2001 to see this level of PCB construction in the US.
All this new activity happily coincides with the efforts of the Printed Circuit Board Association of America. The fledgling trade group, which was founded in 2021 to advance US domestic production of PCBs and base materials, has been rallying federal legislators for attention – and funding – to ensure an onshore supply chain for domestic electronics.
We spoke with PCBAA executive director David Schild in late November on the PCB Chat podcast on the latest legislative and industry developments. Excerpts:
An overview of the design and development process.
5G radio networks provide increased bandwidth at the expense of reduced range. To compensate for the reduced range and to increase coverage, availability of cost-effective radio units is critical. In collaboration with Intel, Analog Devices, Comcores and Radisys, Whizz Systems has developed a 5G Open Radio Unit (ORU) white box solution to meet this market need. A broader overview of the 5G architecture can be found in Comcores1 and Radisys.2
Here we provide an overview of the design and development process for the various hardware components that make up the 5G ORU white box. Whizz Systems is responsible for the electrical, thermal, mechanical engineering and manufacturing aspects, as well as system validation and bring up of the turnkey white box ORU solution. This includes design of the individual PCBAs and industrial design of the enclosure.
Massive investment suggests the segment could occupy a major portion of the largest fabricators' production.
The heartbreak of the pandemic of 2020-21 is receding, but printed circuit fabricators continued to feel the supply-chain reverberations throughout the past year. The rollercoaster gyrated from a sharp dip to an intense high, with demand for consumer electronics, autos and other electronics resulting in tight inventories and long lead times. Then came the inevitable slowdown. Regionalization, currency swings and price cuts played havoc with manufacturers' order books and financials.
That's the picture drawn by this, the 26th NTI-100 report. As in the past several years, a rough conclusion is "big gets bigger and faster." Due to exchange rates that were favorable to the US dollar in 2022, the author thought there would be changes in the rankings, but they remained approximately the same as in 2021. Japanese fabricators were a surprise. Despite a 20% loss in value against the US dollar, their world ranking remained almost the same as in 2021. Domestic customers wanted to get PCBs from within the country because of supply-chain disruptions in China, resulting in good order intake.
As in the past, the author would like to thank various trade organizations and many firms and friends who provided vital information that enabled the compiling of this report. Any errors in this report are the responsibility of the author.
Learn from successful entrepreneurs and specialists at the annual Women’s Leadership Program.
We can find heroes all around us, but we will challenge you to look inside yourself and to not only identify your superpower but give you some tools to help define your personal brand. So, pick up your cape at the cleaners in time for the SMTA’s Women’s Leadership Conference at SMTA International. Show your support for diversity in engineering fields by joining us as we soar, explore and discover our very own Superheroes. The event is scheduled for Oct. 9 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
A design, equipment, process and materials methodological approach.
Electronics for automotive applications, as well as for other industries, are expected to reliably operate in harsh environments at a competitive cost. Advances in safety, communication and displays are driving miniaturization and integration of sub-devices onto the PCB assembly; e.g., cameras, sensors, and LEDs. Electrification trends are also leading to higher voltage requirements. In one example of a harsh environment application, automotive door and window control modules may have a critical circuit or component that is desired to function for a specified amount of time, even while submerged in water.
This paper describes an enabling technology to assist in the protection of critical functionality on PCB assemblies. 3-D-printed plastic retaining or "barrier" walls are formed to precisely control the location and height of a dispensed encapsulant in a region of the circuit that is sensitive to the environment. A case study was undertaken for the creation of 3-D-printed retaining walls, formed directly onto the surface of PCB substrates, without the need for separate parts, mold tools, mechanical or liquid fasteners, and complex manufacturing equipment. Also eliminated is the need to encapsulate or pot the entire PCB assembly, which adds additional complexity and cost. The encapsulant-filled retaining wall structure protects critical circuits from chemical, mechanical and electrical external factors such as moisture, fluids, gasses, particulate contamination, physical contact, or arcing in applications requiring high voltage. A 3-D model of the SIR test PCB having a representative retaining wall structure, surrounding an interdigitated test circuit, is shown in. The retaining walls hold a liquid-dispensed encapsulant in place, at a predetermined height. In the absence of a retaining wall structure, as shown in and , an encapsulate can spread uncontrollably across the surface of the PCB (Figure 2), or result in insufficient height of the encapsulant, exposing electronics circuitry (Figure 3).