A New Gathering Place for Designers


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IPC APEX EXPO started out as a show for the PCB manufacturing community, but it’s grown beyond that. This year, there’s more design curriculum at the show in San Diego than ever before. IPC instructor Kris Moyer has been instrumental in leading the organization’s efforts around PCB design and design engineering curriculum. So, I asked him the million-dollar question.

Andy Shaughnessy: Kris, why should PCB designers attend IPC APEX EXPO this year?

Kris Moyer: Because it is the definitive gathering of the electronics manufacturing industry. It is an opportunity to network with peers, representatives from all sectors of the industry. These include fabricators, assemblers, material suppliers, and equipment vendors to name a few. This makes the show a great opportunity to learn and grow knowledge in all aspects of the industry and how they might impact the designer. Additionally, the Professional Development Courses allow the designer access to training and knowledge direct from industry gurus.

Shaughnessy: I’ve noticed that there are more PCB design classes set this year. IPC seems to be expanding the amount of design content at the show every year. Is this part of IPC’s roadmap?

Moyer: Yes, it is. IPC is committed to supporting and growing the designers in this industry. We all know the challenges we are facing, with so many designers reaching retirement age and not as many new designers following in their footsteps. Because we are aware of this challenge, we are actively using our resources to improve the situation.

Shaughnessy: The IPC Design Competition returns this year. Will you be involved in that again?

Moyer: Yes, I am one of the judges as well as involved in the conception of the design projects. I’ve seen the number of competitors and it looks to be really interesting.

Shaughnessy: You teach a variety of design classes for IPC. What are the biggest challenges you see facing PCB designers today?

Moyer: As the speeds of designs increase, there is an increase in the need for designers to understand and grasp many engineering concepts that were not previously part of the designer’s skill set. These include signal integrity, power integrity, material properties, manufacturing processes pros and cons, assembly processes pros and cons, to name a few. Designs are only going to get more complex, and faster, and of course smaller.

Shaughnessy: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Moyer: As a PCB designer who has been attending IPC APEX EXPO for almost 20 years, I can say I would not have been as successful in my career had it not been for the networking and knowledge I gained there. 

Shaughnessy: Thanks for talking with me, Kris.

Moyer: Thank you, Andy.

This conversation appeared in the December 2022 issue of Design007 Magazine. For more information about PCB design curriculum at IPC APEX EXPO, click here.

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