Technical Knowledge Comes with Free Lunch

PCB Carolina brings a number of technical speakers to Raleigh. Admission to the technical conference and trade show are free.

November 26, 2012

By Terry Costlow, IPC online editor

Contrary to the old saying, you can get a free lunch. Along with breakfast and an evening cocktail reception. Plus a number of technical sessions and the chance to see the latest products from tens of companies.

The free lunches are courtesy of the RTP (Research Triangle Park) Designers Council, which provides them as part of PCB Carolina. That conference brings a solid list of technical presentations to the Raleigh-Durham area. The day-long conference, to be held on December 6, will have a substantial exhibition area. There is enough vendor support to make the show extremely easy for designers and engineers in the region to attend.

“This conference was launched in 2001, when the economy was bad. It was started for people who had no travel budget, so we offer free attendance. We even provide a free lunch and free breakfast,” said Steve Trasatto, a member of the Board of Directors for the Research Triangle Park Chapter of the IPC Designers Council.

While expenses are light, the technical content isn’t. The conference has multiple tracks, with a total of 12 presentations now on the schedule. Some of the speakers, like Paul Franzon, professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State University, are local. His keynote speech will examine trends in electronic packaging.

Franzon’s technical presentation focuses on interposers and 3-D packaging. In another morning session, Sara Paisner and Michael Pena of Blue Ridge Lighting Solutions will address ways circuit board assembly processing impacts LED reliability for lighting applications.

Others, like Dale Lee of Plexus, are flying in to present and meet local designers and engineers. Lee will focus on design for manufacturing for grid array packages and also discuss manufacturing issues related to the tight tolerances needed for reliable production. Another fly-in presenter is Ozgur Ozturk of TUV Rheinland, who will discuss compliance testing.  

Many of the presenters, like Lee and Franzon, are quite well recognized. Another is Bruce Archambeault. He is one of the IEEE Fellows as well as an IBM Distinguished Engineer. Archambeault will discuss EMC emissions and immunity from high speed connectors. In high frequency systems, connectors can become antennas, which can create some tricky challenges.

If these speakers and several other presenters aren’t attractive enough, Trasatto noted that IPC always holds a Designer Certification session in conjunction with PCB Carolina.

“On Dec. 3-5, there will be workshops and exams for both the CID2012: Certified Interconnect Designer and CID+ Certified Interconnect Designer,” Trasatto said.

PCB Carolina is moving to NC State University in Raleigh this year. The McKimmon Center is a new setting that provides nicer conference rooms and a spacious show area. At present, about 50 exhibitors plan to help attendees get the most out of their time.