High speed

My High Speed Route through South-East Asia

I’ve just returned from a whistle-stop, two week trip to South East Asia. I’d heard recently that investments in China are leading to more complex products being produced, so as someone focused on high-speed design I was interested to see for myself how this is playing out in Asia as a whole; the world’s largest PCB manufacturing region.

IEEE EMC and APEMC Conference

Opening-IEEE EMC and APEMC Conference

The original reason for my trip was an invitation to present a paper at the 2018 Joint IEEE EMC and APEMC Conference in Singapore, which was a huge honor. It was the first time I’d been to a scientific conference in Asia, and my first multi-stop trip in the area, so I thought I’d share my perspectives and perhaps help you decide whether to add the region to your itinerary if you’re not familiar with it.

More than half of technical papers came from China

The Joint IEEE EMC and APEMC Conference is one of the most important events within the EMC and PCB design community, and I sensed celebration and change. This was perhaps due to the shift away from the conference’s usual North American location, and the APEMC 10th anniversary celebrations.

Dr Michael Kuhn Audi, Ralf Bruening Zuken

Ralf Bruening catching up with Dr Michael Kuehn, Audi, at the IEEE EMC and APEMC Conference.

I presented on: “Advanced PDN Analysis and Optimization within a 3D SoC, SiP, PCB Co-Design Environment”. This looked at how Zuken’s DC solver in CR-8000 Design-Force can be used to solve dedicated Power Integrity issues on a BGA structure, giving an example of co-design methodology within smartphones. (Co-author credits go to my U.S. colleagues Humair Mandavia and TV Narayanan). With six parallel sessions taking place, I was pleased with our audience size and lively Q&A. The conference always has a comprehensive scope, typical for a high speed conference, and at 178 pages the conference guide feels more like a phone book!

I heard that of the 180+ papers, around 60% came from China – which is unusual for a scientific conference. The Singapore location obviously played a part, but it gives a clear indication that China is investing heavily in engineering, education and R&D, and we should adjust our mindset from China just being a location for outsourcing low value products.

Silicon island

Penang International Airport

Penang International Airport… or Power Integrity Advance (a Zuken tool)?!

Penang is known as Malaysia’s ‘Silicon Island’, an electronic industry hotspot just a one-hour flight from Singapore. This was the setting for another high-speed design seminar, which attracted more than 40 attendees. With Malaysia being a big TV manufacturing hub, we hosted many attendees from the consumer electronics sector.

Speeding to Singapore

I then headed to Singapore where I gave a high-speed design seminar at the offices of TUV Sud, a large EMC consulting company serving Singapore and the surrounding countries. Organized by my colleagues in Zuken Singapore, this seminar was very well attended by representatives from large global companies, such as automotive suppliers and consumer electronics. Again, we had discussions with good technical depth.

I had a few opportunities to stroll through the streets of the amazing city of Singapore. My hotel was across the road from Little Arab, one of the oldest, most picturesque quarters of Singapore offering an exciting cultural mix, and ‘Little India’ was just two blocks away.

ZIW India – Bangalore and Hyderabad

ZIW HderabadI then stopped off in Bangalore and Hyderabad for two of the three Indian venues of our global annual conference, Zuken Innovation World (ZIW). Unfortunately, I was faster than my luggage; but luckily, we were only separated for 24 hours.

Despite Zuken having a long history in India, it was the first time ZIW had come to the country and both events were enthusiastically attended. From my perspective, there were many attendees eager to learn about Zuken’s high-speed design tools within our CR-8000 Advanced PCB design platform. I showed how DDR4 memory interfaces and IoT applications can be designed efficiently using CR-8000. In Bangalore, the region is especially active in defense and state institutes, while in Hyderabad we saw more global companies.

I struggled a little with the 42 degree heat after a late flight, and adjusting to an indoor temperature of 25-28 degrees. With such high temperatures outside, cooling office buildings in India to the 20 degree temperatures I’m accustomed to in Western Europe would be prohibitively expensive.

It is impressive to see all the economic development taking place in India. However, one of its less enjoyable signs is the ‘impressive’ amount of traffic everywhere.


In all it was an exhausting two weeks: 11 airports, temperatures of up to 42 degrees, lots of presentation to give, attending a large conference, and many customer meetings and internal training sessions for local Zuken offices…but it was definitely worth it. The journey gave me many fascinating moments, technical insights, incredible food, and good meetings with colleagues that forged friendships and made me feel part of the great Zuken family. Oh yes, and an expectation to see many more Chinese presenters at my next conferences.

However, it’s always great to return home to Germany. I never thought that a temperature of 11 degrees in May could make me smile!

Written by

Ralf works as Product Manager for High-speed Design Systems at the Zuken EMC Technology Center in Paderborn/Germany, responsible for product marketing and business development for the Zuken SI, PI and EMC analysis tools. He holds a diploma degree in computer science, electrical engineering and economics from the University of Paderborn. He has 30 years of experience in Electronics and EDA. He is regular speaker on international conferences, but is involved in European Funding project and standardization activities as well.

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