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Business lives on even in the covid, but it's better over coffee

Dennis Hausner lives in Baden-Württemberg, near the French and Swiss borders. Yet he is now in his second year working for a Czech company. Specifically, since January 2020, when the well-known German PCB manufacturer Kubatronik was bought by the Czech company Gatema. We took advantage of his visit to Boskovice to find out how the whole process of mutual cooperation takes place in the difficult times of coronavirus and raw material crisis; and how difficult it is to succeed in the PCB industry on the European market today.

What did the Polish Evertiq bring? Trends, localism, but above all "live people"

This year's Evertiq Expo was not so much exceptional in that it was held on the day of the Czech national holiday at the national stadium in Warsaw, Poland, or that it featured an exceptionally diverse range of current trends in electronics. But above all, it was the fact that it actually took place. Live people met here. After more than two years when all conferences and trade fairs tried to move online, there were indeed hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of visitors. Under one roof, in one place, engaged in constant debate. The main topics will not come as much of a surprise to PCB connoisseurs. Much was made of the rapid development of 5G networks, which bring further fundamental acceleration and the need for further miniaturisation of boards. Related to this are further shifts in the development of the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and the security of cloud systems architecture. However, a sort of leitmotif of this year's event is logically the coronavirus crisis and the associated disruption of traditional supplier relationships across continents.

The most common PCB design mistakes: the drama certainly doesn't end with the schematic

The foundation of any PCB design is a properly executed circuit diagram. In our last article, we wrote tips on how to get it right and what to look out for. But the work is far from over with the schematic. We'll show you how to design a working PCB - the first time, without mistakes.

PCB celebrates 100 years. Will it pass the hundred billion dollar milestone?

When American inventor Charles Ducas patented a wooden board on which he assembled a circuit made of conductive materials in 1925, he certainly could not have imagined the boom the idea would one day enjoy. If it weren't for covide, the total annual sales of the printed circuit board (PCB) market would realistically be expected to hit the $100 billion milestone a century later - in 2025.

Ecology and PCB manufacturing. Can they be combined?

Without torture, we ourselves are sometimes tired of how "green" issues and sustainability can nowadays find their way into all fields of human activity. We are also amazed at how companies that for years have been proven to be major polluters of the air or the landscape around us suddenly rush to add paragraphs to their strategic documents with environmental themes and chant sustainability. Perhaps that is why we thought we would take a comprehensive look at the broader context, which also affects PCB manufacturing, and shed some light on four key areas where this connection can make sense.

Why it doesn't work or the most common mistakes in PCB schematic design

Why doesn't it work? Every HW developer has asked this question during the course of their development career. What mistakes can lead to non-functionality of the designed electronics? And how can design software help you?

How to succeed in the Austrian and German market? Quality is not a parameter

Andreas Kader has been through a lot with printed circuit boards. Consider for yourself. Project manager at AT&S, sales manager at Robust Electronics, head of sales and member of the managing board at Fuchsberger PCB & Electronics. All respected giants, established Austrian brands with a worldwide presence. And more than fifteen years of experience in how to sell, and then above all deliver, the perfect PCB to clients.

IPC Class 2 or 3? The customer should be the only standard

Board quality control is a world in which an incredible number of abbreviations appear. There are standards and certifications such as IPC 1, IPC 2, IPC 3, ISO 9000, ISO 14001, CMI 700 and CMI 900 devices, CoC reports, RoHS, and UL certification. Nevertheless, a human is still the decisive variable in the whole process. Ordinary interpersonal communication that solves possible problems and shortcomings. And, at the same time, the error of the human factor, which is by far the most common cause of possible complications. Jaroslava Sedláčková from Gatema PCB, who has been dealing with the quality of the output of manufactured printed circuit boards for twelve years and is also in charge of communication with customers in the event of any complaints, also knows this well. “Every customer is different. Some are accommodating, others are negative. For some, it is enough that the board meets one of the standards, others insist on a number of details. For us, the only real standard is the customer, or rather his satisfaction”, she says at the beginning of the interview.

Despite the crisis, we keep production deadlines of five to ten days

We have already written about the situation with materials for the production of printed circuit boards on this blog. Today, we look at the whole story once again – through the spectacle of numbers, delivery times and economic prospects. “The situation on the market for materials and their supplies is currently incredibly bad. The “lead time” for basic materials such as prepregs or cores was, by default, fourteen days. From February this year, however, we are actually registering a constant change for the worse. At first the time shifted to four to five weeks, a month later it was six to seven weeks for prepregs and thirteen weeks for basic materials. In May, we were informed that they were forced to extend the delivery time for prepregs to eleven weeks and twenty to twenty-one weeks for basic material. Our standard established practice, when we order material and have it in stock within fourteen days, basically changed to five months. It is common now that the delivery terms are confirmed for November. But, having reacted in March with an increase in the stock minima, we are covering up lead time without major delays”, says Radim Vítek, production manager at Gatema PCB.

Fight for material. What problems are PCB manufacturers solving in the summer of 2021?

They say the world is a global village in which everything is related to everything. I’ll give you a common example. It is not customary for the main news channels to address the area of chip or PCB production. But there's no other way: each of us who has been used to ordering anything online in recent years and receiving everything on time suddenly has to deal with delays. Sometimes it is a few days, sometimes - months. As befits the global village, there are many reasons for it. We also talked about it with Radim Vítek and Ondřej Horký from Gatema PCB. One of the few manufacturers of printed circuit boards, which, thanks to its focus, has not yet had to fundamentally change delivery dates.