December 2023 Newsletter



Hello members!

In the next two months PCEA will host three free PCEA member webinars on PCB materials, PCB thermal management, and the impact of artificial intelligence on electronics to be presented by industry experts.

On December 13, Tony Senese and Eriko Yamato of Panasonic will present PCB Material Properties – Consideration for Design and Manufacturing. Engineers use PCB material product charts to reference electrical, mechanical, and thermal properties to seek solutions for specific applications. It is important to understand the significance of a given property and how it affects PCB design and manufacturing. This presentation will cover key material properties such as Tg, CTE, and modulus to guide how they can impact PCB design and processing. Knowing the capabilities and limitations of these tests and reported values is critical when defining the boundary conditions for a given design. How normal product line up variations in construction, resin content, and use conditions may change a given value will be discussed.

On January 17, Doug Brooks and Dr. Johannes Adam will present Via and Trace Currents and Temperatures. Rather than thinking of current density, the presenters say, focus on material parameters and properties that determine the temperature of a trace and how these are calculated. Results of some simulations of vias of varying widths and amps will be shown.

And on January 23, a special panel will debate AI in Electronics. Artificial intelligence has made its way into ECAD and other software used in electronics manufacturing. But what’s the actual intelligence in these tools? And in what ways — and how soon — can we expect them to impact our roles? CTOs and related domain experts from a handful of ECAD companies will offer a snapshot of where we are, what’s feasible, and the forecasted timeline for implementation. All webinars will include time for audience questions. For more info or to register, click here.

In other news, we received more than 60 abstracts for PCB East 2024, one-third of which are from new presenters. The Conferences Task Group is working to develop the technical program, which will be announced in early January.

As 2023 draws to a close, a work of thanks and gratitude to our members, customers, board of directors, and other friends and colleagues, of which there are far too many to cite, for your support this year. Pursuit of the ideals encapsulated in our motto – “Collaborate, Educate, and Inspire” – starts with each of you, and we at PCEA draw from your energy and passion every day. Thank you.

Mike Buetow
PCEA President


Local Chapters

Please forward your chapter news to for inclusion on our website and in future newsletters.


Steph Chavez and Mike Buetow are planning a four-city chapter roadshow for 2024. The tentative schedule:

  • March 7 – Austin
  • April 11 – Phoenix
  • May 2 – Boston
  • October 24 – Portland (OR)

Each meeting will include at least one tech talk, plus some time for networking. We will have more details in the new year.

Education committee. John Watson is working on a series of videos on design, with the first couple scheduled to be complete by year-end.

PCB East 2024 will take place June 4-7 in the Boston suburbs. And PCB West will take place October 8-11 at the Santa Clara (CA) Convention Center. Abstracts are now being accepted at


PCEA Training. On July 31, PCEA acquired PCE-EDU, the developers of the Printed Circuit Engineering Professional curriculum and certification program.

Classes currently scheduled for 2024 are as follows:

  • Feb. 5 – March 4
  • April 5 – May 3
  • June 14 – 28

Learn more at

Reading Material

Highlights of the recent issues of PCD&F/Circuits Assembly:

  • PCB design reuse. Reusing proven circuits and layouts can enhance innovation. Here’s how.
  • Virtual is getting real. PCB design for virtual and augmented reality headsets.
  • Basics of high-frequency materials. As more electronic devices function at high frequencies, selecting materials suitable for high-frequency work is becoming crucial for new product development. An overview of the important characteristics of high-frequency PCB materials.
  • Assessing data independence and normality for SPC charts. Many printed circuit board chemical manufacturing processes can violate the assumption of data independence, which along with normality is crucial for accurate statistical process control charts. Being able to confirm data’s independence and normality before plotting them on an SPC chart can save valuable time for a process engineer.
  • In-house fixture fabrication. Leveraging additive manufacturing technology to mistake-proof production.
  • Going green. Speed is of the essence at Green Circuits, a Silicon Valley EMS that offers same-day (!) turns.
  • Ready for 6G? While the 5G era continues to take hold, materials science must advance for us to move to the next stage.

Read it all here.

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