IPC releases technology roadmap for electronic interconnections

APRIL 3, 2009--The product of a two-year study, the IPC Roadmap is intended to provide insight into the future technology landscape of the PCB and electronics assembly industries.

APRIL 3, 2009--According to electronics industry organization IPC (Bannockburn, IL, USA; www.ipc.org, over the next several years the electronic interconnect industry will experience numerous technological changes -- some small and hardly noticeable, while others may genuinely transform the industry. For any company in the electronics manufacturing supply chain, having an understanding of these changes can mean the difference between success and failure. To provide companies with vision and direction for product and process development and services, IPC unveiled IPC International Technology Roadmap for Electronic Interconnections at IPC APEX EXPO, March 31-April 2, 2009, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Convention Center in Las Vegas.

The product of a two-year study, the IPC Roadmap is intended to provide insight into the future technology landscape of the PCB and electronics assembly industries, focusing exclusively on the manufacture of substrates and assemblies.

"The roadmap represents a quantitative summary of the expected changes in board, component, and assembly technology from 2008 to 2018, and includes new unique interconnection and assembly potential chapters that show revolutionary applications which are still in the embryonic stage," says Jack Fisher, chairman, IPC Roadmap Committee. "All this information enables companies to test their short- and long-term goals within a future technology framework. Best of all, the roadmap was purposely designed as an 'operational level' roadmap to help companies gain an acute understanding for virtually every operation on the manufacturing floor."

The foundation of the IPC Roadmap is its "product emulators" -- used to depict OEM needs. Emulators reflect a specific product type as represented by a specific board assembly or piece of equipment. Created with input from several OEMs and experts, the emulators embrace more than one technology philosophy and provide information for future process and equipment development.

Used in the IPC roadmap process since 1995, the organization says the emulator concept has been successful in reflecting advances in technology in four time periods (current, near-term, mid-term, and long-term). Product emulators for the 2008-2009 IPC Roadmap are electronic games (portable); consumer products (under $500); hand-held/wireless electronics; mid-range performance electronics; high-performance systems (mainframe, server, mass storage); RF and microwave electronics (10 MHz); harsh environments/aerospace; and harsh environments/auto electronics.

New this year, a software analysis program developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is included with the roadmap. The NIST program enables companies to enter its products so that their features can be compared individually to the technology drivers used to define the emulators.

The IPC Roadmap looks ahead to future technological advances and how the printed board and electronic manufacturing services (EMS) industries will cope with the integration of electronics into smaller and denser packages.

The IPC Roadmap may be purchased on CD. For more information or to purchase, visit www.ipc.org/roadmap.

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