Malingerers, or Just Millennials?

Peter Bigelow pens a timely and salient column on the current crop of new employees and the differences in culture with the veteran workforce. (Sample comment: “Collaboration cannot exist if everyone shows up to work at a different time.”)

As usual, Peter makes some fascinating observations. I’ll add my own 2 cents.

Smartphones, video games, etc. have a demonstrable affect on users (of any age, actually, but particularly youth). The constant stimulation of the digital world is addicting, and physically changes your brain structures. I’ve had to institute rules for my kids (ages 12 and 14) about screen use for even the simplest of activities. (They actually reached the point where, when they would see me pulling up to pick them up, they would then get on their latest mobile game while walking to the car).

It’s no surprise, then, that this behavior carries over to the workplace. Young people are hooked.

Ironically, I’m the one in our house constantly fighting to get the kids away from their screens. My wife, who knows more about the brain than almost anyone, seems almost blasé about it. Grrrrr….

How the Chips Have Fallen

The history of consolidation in the semiconductor industry, in one slide:

Source: Fortune

The Foxconn Model

Here’s a good recap and summary of the state of Foxconn today, including some thoughts on its future. The sense that Foxconn does not believe in competing with customers is outdated, given its foray into phones, among other devices.

The Monster in Munich

Productronica was, as usual, slightly surreal. The enormity of it cannot be overstated. Attendance at the Munich-based event was up 20% from two years ago to 44,000, per exhibition officials, although it’s not clear how many of those visitors were for SemiCon Europa, which colocated  with the biennial show for the first time. Still, for those in the market for new equipment, or just perusing to see the trends, there was more than enough to keep them busy the four full days. For a full report, click here.

 

 

Basic Layout — Aligning Components

Not long ago, I designed an Arduino compatible clock board. The board has 12 NeoPixel (digital addressed RGB LEDs) arranged around the board to act as hour hands. The minutes and seconds are represented by an external ring of 60 NeoPixels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How did I go about positioning the 12 NeoPixels, and what does it matter? For aesthetic reasons, I do want each NeoPixel in the proper place. If any are off a bit, I’ll notice every time I look at the clock.

I created a triangle, with all of the correct distances, and drew in in my CAD software’s Document layer. The Document layer looks just like a silk screen layer, when visible, but it won’t be printed on the board. You can use this layer to put in extra information for yourself, or for the manufacturer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll notice that I also wrote in the document layer “No tabs here.” That’s an instruction to the board fabricator to not put a panel tab where the micro USB connector goes. If it did, the board wouldn’t be buildable when panelized.

Some create a fabrication document layer and an assembly document layer. An example might pertain to reference designators. If the board is too compact for reference designators, of if, for aesthetic reasons, you want to leave them off the finished board, You can put the reference designators in an Assembly Documentation layer. Then be sure to let your assembler know what you’ve done.

The other things I did here is to keep all the LEDs aligned with the baseline of the PCB. In theory, you can place a component at any rotation angle you want. But, like any system, manufacturing works better when there are fewer variables.

You reduce the probability of error if you keep components aligned at factors of 90 degrees. It also helps to keep polarities oriented the same way, as much as possible. For example, if you can, have all the diode polarities facing the same direction.

Duane Benson
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana

http://blog.screamingcircuits.com

Productronica Recap, Day 1

From the floors of the Messe International Fairgrounds in Munich, home to the Productronica, Mike Buetow reports on the biennial trade show and the latest equipment inspecting electronics assemblies. And it is everywhere: There are more than 40 companies offering surface inspection, 28 showing AOI, and another 20 with x-ray machines.

Live, from Productronica!

We will be reporting from the Productronica trade show in Munich next week. For the uninitiated, Productronica is the largest electronics assembly show in the world, filling more than six halls the sizes of aircraft hangers at the Messe Fairgrounds.

Each day, I’ll report what I saw and heard at the show for our new podcast, PCB Chat. Tune in at upmg.podbean.com for the recaps. And for real-time updates, follow me on Twitter (twitter.com/mikebuetow). And if you are headed to the show, feel free to drop me a line at mbuetow@upmediagroup.com or connect with me via LinkedIn.

Safe travels!

 

PCB Chat Episode 3 – Rick Hartley

For some 50 years, Rick Hartley has been an engineer and designer of printed circuit boards, primarily with BF Goodrich and L3 Avionics. He is now principal of RHartley Enterprises, where he consults with leading companies to resolve noise, signal integrity and EMI problems. Perhaps the most popular speaker in the history of PCB West, Rick recently has been conducting 2-day workshops on controlling signal noise. He talks EMI (“it’s about fields”) and his advice for designers with UPMG’s Mike Buetow.

In Memory of Jim

I can’t think of a better way to remember my good friend Jim Raby than a scholarship in his name. It seems all the more timely now. Thank you, David, Ellen and STI Electronics for setting this up, and congratulations to 2017 recipient Broxton Sanderson.

PCB Chat – Joe Fama

Joe Fama is an expert in electronics manufacturing services with more than 30 years helping OEMs and EMS companies, particularly in southeast Asia. Joe specializes in taking relatively unknown electronics companies and linking them with key OEMs. His career has taken him to Singapore, Malaysia, China, Mexico and the Philippines. He also writes an occasional column. He talks with Mike Buetow about setting up three-way program among a Western OEM and NPI EMS and a Southeast Asian volume EMS that can generate a recurring revenue stream for the US-based EMS.