Jennie Hwang: Get Ready for Disruptive Technologies

Reading time ( words)

Johnson: What do you see as being some of the disruptive factors in the next five years?

Hwang: Our industry, like other industries, is and will be affected by the megatrends, namely, AI, IoT, and 5G. For example, IoT is going to drive product design and operation. How this industry is going to embrace these changes is critical to future success. In another one of my professional development classes, we had people coming from companies specifically in the area of IoT because they don’t want to see failure. IoT and other megatrends will greatly affect how the electronics are going to be built. What reliability will we have to deliver? Then, to deliver reliability, how does that affect material innovation? And how are they going to affect equipment changes?

It also depends on how you define AI. If we look at the ultimate AI, I think that will happen sometime down the road, meaning things will become AI integrated with human intelligence to operate everything in a harmonic, reliable manner. But if you isolate AI to certain functions, and I think it’s already here and some industries are doing that already. AI will link to certain electronic hardware as well. So, that type of AI will affect the electronic design, semiconductors, and package; it would not be standard for semiconductor chips. To that end, you want a semiconductor design to perform in a certain segment of AI. That is going to pass down to this industry, and the industry will have to consider how to deliver and embrace that to best serve the market.


Johnson: AI is important to pay attention to because the specific semiconductor design requirements to make chips that process an AI function at high speed are going to change the demands around packaging, which then will trickle down into changing the demands on how you place those components on circuit boards.

Hwang: AI is such a common term today. Once, when I was in a taxi, the driver started talking to me about AI; it varies with your perspective. In its full deployment, AI will bring huge changes. There are a lot of the individual levels of AI, and over the next five years, we’re going to see more AI and a higher level of AI.

Johnson: So, people in our industry should pay attention to IoT and AI regarding manufacturing demands.

Hwang: We really need to understand what Industry 4.0 is, what it requires, and what it takes to get to Industry 4.0. I think that is going to take the next several years to develop.

Johnson: A burning question around the CFX working groups was this: Now that we have a standard and a way of interchanging data, how do we make it useful?

Hwang: Absolutely. Data is data. Although data is valuable, I am not playing down its importance. Everything is about data in our data world, but it’s more about how to separate the noisy data from the clean data, and there’s a lot of messy data to clean up. In the next five years, we are going to learn a lot about that by creating something like CFX, which is just a starting point. We have to start somewhere to get to our destination. To achieve the desirable outcome, it’s not just about collecting a lot of data and exchanging it; there’s much more to it.

Johnson: If you can’t get something useful that helps you and doesn’t add value, then it’s just noise.

Hwang: Yes, usefulness is what counts. In terms of disruptive technologies, the real disruption that is going to come to the electronics industry is when we have an entirely new array of materials to make electronics. We all know that silicon is very hard to replace, as vividly demonstrated in last the three to four decades.

Like my question to JB Strabuel from Tesla’s keynote speaker this morning regarding the electric vehicle: “What new materials are needed to deliver high-energy and power density beyond what conventional lithium can provide to reach the speed, range, cost, and other performance features of a well-rounded electric vehicle?” There is still a distance to go. There are certain limitations on the range and storage we can achieve. So, the availability of higher power density, storage, and associated technologies is necessary.

For electronics, to get another level of performance, we will need new 2D materials. This area has been rigorously researched for the last few years across the globe. Like AI and 5G, this is a global race and competition. Surely, 2D materials are going to revolutionize electronic devices, but when that will happen remains to be determined. That would be a huge disruption for electronics—an entirely different type of materials above and beyond the typical semiconductors we’ve been making.

Johnson: This has been great, Jennie. Thank you.

Hwang: Thank you, Nolan.


Suggested Items

Training for New Hires

05/31/2023 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
Since training is such a key component in converting an inexperienced new hire into a valued contributor on the manufacturing floor, we asked Brenda Clunie, vice president of sales and operations at EPTAC, exactly how their certification programs deliver on this promise for new hires.

Akrometrix: Masters of Metrology

05/24/2023 | Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
At the Atlanta SMTA Expo and Tech Forum, I met Neil Hubble, president of the metrology systems provider Akrometrix. If you’re not sure exactly what metrology entails, you’re in luck. In this interview, Neil explains why metrology is becoming a critical part of PCB manufacturing. We also discuss the company’s capital equipment, testing services, and why Akrometrix counts many of the top PCB and semiconductor manufacturing companies in the world as their customers.

Shopping for a Soldering Robot

05/24/2023 | Ed Zamborsky, Thermaltronics
During factory visits, I've witnessed what’s happened to our workforce after the pandemic. Sometimes it looks like operator separation for social distancing, working extra shifts to cover for lost or missing employees due to illness, workers who now work from home, or they have simply found working no longer suits them. One possible solution when you can’t hire skilled technicians is to look at automation, particularly automation for soldering. For many it was a “feature piece” for the obligatory factory tour just to demonstrate to potential customers they are forward thinking. Now it’s a reality to solve a true workforce shortage issue. But why use a robotic soldering system?

Copyright © 2023 I-Connect007 | IPC Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.