Silicon Photonics? A huge trend, which, however, will not beat the PCB price

There is nowhere to grow. Current science in the field of processor development has found itself at the very limit of possibilities. We can hardly produce even smaller or denser parts and components without encountering basic physical limits. That's why companies around the world are focusing a lot on “revolutionary” architectural change. In the field of photonics or “silicon photonics” it is optical data interconnection with integrated lasers. We, Czechs, with a few exceptions in the field of photonics, rather play second fiddle. One of the rare exceptions is the Argotech company located in Trutnov. We talked with Martin Žoldák, the head of its development department, about photonics and printed circuit boards.

Brains from Slušovice. Before and today, they arouse respect far beyond the borders

The beginning of this story will sound a little bit strange especially to the youngest generation. The origin of the MGM Compro company, which today is one of the world-renowned experts in the development and production of special electronics in the field of drive systems, speed controllers or battery systems, can be traced back to the United Agricultural Cooperative in Slušovice. What can an inconspicuous town of 3,000 people east of Zlín have in common with innovative electronics and printed circuit boards? At least the person of Grigorij "Griša" Dvorský who has been there for more than three decades. He remembers the times of the "Slušovice miracle" when leading brains from all over the country met in Slušovice and in addition to specialists in cattle breeding, corn growing or food processing, there was also an elite team of microelectronics developers. At a level that exceeded the boundaries common to the countries east of the "Iron Curtain".

First Electric Formula Racing Car Designed in TU Brno

The great world of Formula One racing is perhaps too exorbitant for Czechs to break into. It's all about big global brands that are behind their racers and their cars. It's not just about driving skills, but about the ability to win big sponsors, build an elite team, and secure a place among less than thirty chosen drivers. Despite this, a new project is being launched in the Czech Republic that is attracting attention. The project, headed by TU Racing team, which operates at the Brno University of Technology, aims to design the very first electric Formula car in the history of the country. We talked to Dominik Klement, the youngest head of the team in its ten-year history and the first ever team head from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, about how Czech students are doing compared with global competition and about electronics and printed circuit boards.

Growing needs of people guarantee the printed circuit boards will continue to be in production

Mr. František Vlk is not really a typical business “shark”. He speaks calmly and carefully select select his words, is grateful for your questions and there is a 10 year old mobile phone on the table in front of him that he uses. And even in spite of that – or perhaps that's why – he has managed to built a company in Boskovice that employs around 200 people and has obtained a top class reputation for the production of printed circuit boards all over Europe. “Last year was tough but we managed to survive way above our expectations but it is too early to celebrating because the crisis that is going to hit this business is still ahead of us. The overall consumption is still suppressed by the coronavirus and especially the more expensive items are less in demand. People are still waiting, anticipating what's going to happen next. The companies have started to arm for the post-Covid period which results in developing and then ordering more complicated and complex boards. It is more interesting types of goods for us with higher added value” as he adds at the beginning of our interview.

The Year 2020 in PCB industry: fewer classic circuit boards, companies invested in development

The year 2020 will become part of history alongside the legendary years of 1968, 1989 or 2001, the years that have changed the rules in the world. A dramatic change is also happening at this time - the culture of work is shifting, people's habits are changing as well as global logistics, economic parameters, social conventions, technological possibilities. The development in many areas has managed to accelerate even more. After all, consider this, would you be able to imagine a similar pandemic 10 or 20 years ago? Without the possibility of home office, video conferences, high speed Internet, advanced automation or artificial intelligence, the course of such pandemic would be dramatically different. This was also one of the topics we discussed with Mr. Frantisek Vlk, Mr. Zdenek Capal and Mr. Ondrej Horky. The three gentlemen that are steering the wheel of Gatema PCB a.s., a top European producer of printed circuit boards that only in this year has managed to transform into a holding structure, to finish the acquisition of a well-known German company Kubatronik, to open up an Austrian branch office Katema Tec and to strengthen substantially its activities in Poland. This is not a bad result for a year which has been mostly negative for majority of people.