PCB Designers Perk Up for Coffee!

All of you PCB designers out there – I hope you had the opportunity to attend PCB West this year. The sold-out show floor was all abuzz with activity, as was our booth and the Zuken-sponsored barista cart. Free latte or cappuccino – who can pass on that?

We saw more than 300 visitors looking to put a pep in their step, and as we do, we asked them to take a short survey about how they take their coffee. It’s now an annual tradition to share the survey results with you here to coincide with International Coffee Day. This year we branched out and asked a few questions about design habits, and the results might surprise you!

First, a little sweet talk
Four years running, cream and sugar is the way most prefer their coffee (42%). But this year we found that designers and fabricators are giving in to their sweet tooth with the overall sugary options coming in at 4% higher than in past years. Even the non-coffee drinkers helped us out, accounting for 8% of our visitors.

Coffee Survey Results

Is 3D PCB design mainstream?
Based on our survey results, let’s just say if you have not designed a board in 3D, you are a bit behind the times. A whopping 85% of the respondents have done a board in 3D at least once. 15% of the respondents have made the switch to 3D and are not looking back. Why? 3D design opens the door for ECAD/MCAD co-design and improved visualization. And if your tool can do multi-board, now you can do subsystem design.

3D PCB Design

Building or downloading?
More and more companies are moving away from library creation to downloading the part and verifying it meets the corporate standards. That’s a big change and the data supports it is happening. 70% of our respondents have downloaded a PCB component from a third-party site. Ultra Librarian, SamacSys and Digi-Key are just a few companies offering downloads and many are free.

3rd Party Components

How flexible are your designs?
Are we moving away from traditional rigid boards to a variety of flex technologies? Our survey would suggest yes, with 75% of the respondents using some form of flex. 21% of the respondents design exclusively with flex technologies suggesting some industries have left rigid behind.

Flex Technology

Mainstream technology?
The survey highlighted three trends that have gained significant traction in our industry; 1) 3D board design, 2) component downloads and 3) flex technology. Based on the survey results we could say they have gone mainstream with a strong majority having experienced each of these trends. If you haven’t given them a try, it might be time.

What’s next?
If you stopped by our booth then you had a chance to see a new flex technology called Stretch-rigid. Learn more about this exciting new technology in our October 10 webinar* – What is a Stretch-rigid Circuit and How do I Design It?

The entire PCB West team delivered another exceptional conference and we’re looking forward to returning again next year. Follow the Zuken Coffee floor stickers to find us, grab your cup of free joe and get to know Zuken.

*Due to GDPR limitations, the live webinar is not available outside of North America. Please visit our web page for an on-demand recording after the presentation date.

Written by

Amy is the Director of Marketing Communications in North America. Her role includes advertising, public relations, event management, social media and more. She thrives on managing complex projects, especially when there is an opportunity to interact with customers. In her spare time, she and her family enjoy traveling.

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