IPC Design Competition Champion Crowned at IPC APEX EXPO 2023

Last week at IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego, Calif, five competitors squared off to determine who was the best of the best at PCB design.

As finalists in the second annual IPC Design Competition, these five intrepid designers were invited to the finals heat at IPC APEX EXPO to compete in a four-hour layout showdown. Provided with a rigid-flex board and a preset bill of materials (BOM), competitors flexed their skills by routing the board to near completion.

At the end of the four-hour round, each competitor delivered their project file to the judges who convened to review designs, with a winning PCB design going to Sathishkumar Vijayakumar, senior PCB design engineer at Tessolve Semiconductor Pvt Ltd. in Bengaluru, India.

“Sathish exhibited a deep understanding of all technologies presented in the finals design – from a thoughtful usage of given flex layers to well-rounded approach to routing for radio frequency, he wisely chose to spend his limited time routing ‘around’ the board; not focusing on one area more than necessary to demonstrate his skills,” said Patrick Crawford, manager, IPC design standards and related industry programs/PCB design competition lead. “Sathish was a competitor in the IPC India PCB Design Competition, where he also took first place. We congratulate Sathish on his back-to-back wins!”

Said Vijayakumar of his win, “This is one of the greatest milestones in my career and I am very proud of being in this world competition. I believe the proper training I received along with knowledge gained from working on different types of PCBs over the years helped me a lot in winning the competition.”

Second place went to Adam Thorvaldson, CID, lead PCB Designer, at Innovex Design Service, LLC in Oldsmar, Fla.

“It is abundantly clear that Adam is a talented and creative designer, and it was a lengthy discussion among the judges regarding differentiators between his and Sathish’s design – it was really, really close,” added Crawford.  “Adam attempted a significant amount of routing and his design rule check came back with fewer critical issues than other competitors, relative to his amount of completed nets.”

Runners-up included: Jesus Castane, CID+, senior PCB designer, CMR Surgical in Manchester, England; Paul Brionez, CID+, senior PCB design layout engineer, Wisk Aero in Mountain View, Calif.; and Harish G., senior engineer, R&D-Mobility, Exicom Tele-Systems Ltd. in Bengaluru, India.

To learn more about IPC's IPC design competitions and PCB design-related courses, visit www.ipc.org/standards/ipc-design.