Efficiency, Energy and Convenience: Driving New Solutions and Markets

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In an interview with I-Connect007, Craig Hunter, senior director for global marketing communications at Vishay Intertechnology Inc. and a member of the SMT Magazine Editorial Advisory Board, discusses significant changes in the electronics manufacturing industry during the past decade, persistent challenges, and new technologies that will provide opportunities and growth.

Stephen Las Marias: From your perspective, what would you consider the three most significant technology developments in the electronics manufacturing industry during the past five to ten years?

Craig Hunter: Component miniaturization, the increase of battery-backed equipment, and the role of the Internet in helping engineers design and build end products.

Las Marias: What about challenges?

Hunter: In terms of miniaturization, electrical challenges and mechanical challenges when making things smaller have an almost inverse relationship with the size reduction. Simply adding terminations to 0201 products would have been extremely costly 20 years ago. Another good example is that when placing 0201 components on a PCB, the margin for error represents a much larger area than previous larger case size versions. A 0201 chip capacitor physically occupies an area of 0.65 x 0.3 mm, yet the recommended pad layout is typically 0.9 x 0.6 mm. So, the total area the designer needs to specify is roughly 175% bigger than the specific part. The same calculation for a 0805 chip is just 55% bigger than the part.

So bearing in mind the lost capacitance of an MLCC when reducing size, you can see how device performance has had to increase significantly when reducing case size.

With regard to the Internet, the fast development of consumer behavior has dramatically affected customer behavior on industrial websites. While Internet giants like Google, Amazon, etc., have invested billions in solving customer frustration issues to stop customers from going to other sites, industrial manufacturers and distributors are trying hard to play catch-up and provide the required content. A recent study stated that engineers make over 55% of their decisions without talking to anyone. So the critical need to meet their needs is obvious.

Battery-backed equipment: The need to improve efficiency, reduce losses, and lower power consumption requirements has moved to the forefront of component technology. It’s not funny math to point out that if a MOSFET operates at 94% efficiency and is improved to 97%, then you reduce losses by 50%.

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of SMT Magazine.


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