Embedded Passives Technology (resistors and capacitors) with Bruce Mahler from Ohmega Technologies

July 10, 2018 Judy Warner

Download this episode (right click and save)

Learn about Embedded Passives Technology with Bruce Mahler from Ohmega Technologies. OhmegaPly® embedded resistor-conductor material is popular, but it’s not new. Ohmega has been making this product since 1972. So why is it getting so much attention lately? It’s reliable and has stood the test of time for five decades--but emerging technologies are making it more relevant than ever. Tune in to learn more about embedded passive and embedded components and find out if it may be the key to solving your current PCB Design challenges.  

Video:

 

Show Highlights:

  • OhmegaPly® is a true thin-film, Nickel-Phosphorous (NiP) alloy. In the manufacturing process, about 0.05 to 1.00 microns of the alloy is electro-deposited onto the rough, or “tooth side”, of electrodeposited copper foil.
  • Embedded passive and embedded components: ER - Embedded resistors, EC - embedded capacitors
  • People tend to think of this technology as something new. Ohmega has been making this product since 1972. It’s the oldest, new technology out there.
  • Functionality - it can be used in so many different ways.
  • Mica - old copper clad laminator, conceived the technology as a way to add functionality to a copper material. Developed in early 70s as a new product.
  • First users of the technology - Cannon electronics in Japan saw the potential in the product for cameras.
  • Other early user was - Control Data Corporation. From there alot of mainframes utilizing the technology.
  • Ohmega ply - thin film resistive foil, plated process, nickel phosphorus, varied thickness and sheet resistivity, fractions of a micron-thick film. Very linear, as film deposit is thinner, resistivity goes up. Thin film technology.
  • We make it in Culver City, CA for 40+ years.
  • Work with Rogers/Arlon, Taconic, Isola, Nelco and other laminators
  • If you use a tiny discreet resistive element, they can be hard to handle. Etching a 5 or 10 mil trace is no problem.
  • Space restrictions, solution - print and etch a resistor
  • Why would I want to use Ohmega ply? What are the cost, reliability, performance indicators?  “There’s no other way I can design this unless I get rid of my resistors!”
  • Most designers use Ohmega ply for densification. Helps when: hard time routing, too many passives, board is a little too thick
  • Example: MEMs or Micro-Electro Mechanical System microphones for cell phones.
  • Applications: military, space based applications - satellites,
  • Uses include: Sensors, IOT, Wearables, Automotive, Memory, Heater, Biomedical
  • Ohmega wants to talk technology with PCB designers. Leverage their expertise, they operate as a part of your design team and happy to be a resource for you. Technical people are available to help.  
  • Ohmega and Oak Mitsui - technology partners - Ohmega/FaradFlex is a combined resistor/capacitor core consisting of OhmegaPly RCM laminated to Oak-Mitsui’s FaradFlex capacitive laminate materials.  
  • Printed circuit board copper lead times are getting longer
  • Self-reliant company
  • Very close relationships with raw material suppliers

 

Links and Resources:

Ohmega Technologies Website

Ohmega Technical Library and Tools

Ohmega Products

Bruce Mahler on Linkedin

 

Transcript:

Hey everybody it's Judy Warner again with Altium's OnTrack Podcast. Thanks for joining us again. We have yet another amazing guest on a fascinating topic that I hope you will enjoy and learn about today. But before we get started I wanted to invite you to please connect with me on LinkedIn. I like to share a lot of content relative to designers and engineers and I'd be happy to connect with you personally, and on Twitter I'm @AltiumJudy and Altium is on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We also record this podcast simultaneously on video, so on the Altium YouTube channel you can find us under videos, and then you will see the whole series of podcasts that we record. So that is all the housekeeping we have for the moment.

So let's jump right into our topic today which is, embedded passives and I have a wonderful expert for you today, and an old friend, Bruce Mahler of Ohmega Technologies. Bruce, welcome, thanks so much for joining us and giving us a lesson today on embedded technology.

Thank You Judy, it's great being on board here and I look forward to talking to you and the audience about embedded resistors in particular, as well as other embedded passives.

Okay, so before we get going I want to make sure that I'm calling this technology the right thing because I always think of them being embedded passives but I don't think I'm right. How would you characterize the technology exactly?

Well the OhmegaPly® product, our embedded resistive product, is ER embedded resistors, PCT planar component technologies it goes by many names: embedded resistors, embedded capacitors; I think the most common now is ER embedded resistors EC embedded capacitors in particular. When we're talking about passive elements - and those are the two main ones that are really driving the embedded passive world - and a better component world right now so yeah, OhmegaPly® is just fine with me.

Okay so let's jump in now, you told me something recently that I was kind of shocked to learn about and I'd like you to give us a brief history of Ohmega Technologies and sort of the evolution of this technology. What I was really shocked to learn is the age of the company. So can you tell us more about that?

Sure many people who are looking at using embedded passives, think of it as a new technology, something just on the market. It's been out a year or two -   no new applications yet but people are looking at it. So when we're asked, this OhmegaPIy® product , how long have you been making it for? And I said oh since about 1972, and they said wait a second, 1972? I said yeah that's actually  , we're going on 46 years now and it's amazing that it's probably the oldest new technology out there.

[laughter]

That's a good way to put it.

I think that has a lot to do with the functionality of the material, how it could be used in so many different ways. And so just briefly a history of the technology: originally the OhmegaPly® embedded resistive thin film material was developed, conceived, and developed by Mica Corporation. Many of your old listeners on board know Mica used to be a copper clad laminator, supplied epoxy glass laminates and polyamide glass, did a number of other things, and it was conceived in the early 70s as a way of adding functionality to a laminate material. So rather than just getting copper foil bonded to a dielectric it was a copper coil that had a functional purpose beyond copper traces bonded to a dielectric and so, after many years of development at Mica, a product OhmegaPly® was developed; the Mica laminate product was MicaPly that's how the name originally came about and it was originally developed in the early 70s as a new product.

Now with any new product, somebody had to be the first to go ahead and try it you know, who was going to be on the bleeding edge of any new technology, who was going to be the route maker? And the interesting thing is that back in the early seventies - about again, '72, '73 - the first users of the technology were two absolutely opposite companies in absolutely opposite areas of the electronic industry. One of those happened to be Canon electronics in Japan. Canon, making AE-1 SLR cameras at the time, looked at the technology as being a great way of making a step potentiometer who could eliminate the ceramic potentiometers circuits that they were currently using, at the time and it fit very neatly into their camera system. So they were very simple, these were surface resistors, put in FR4, make resistive elements in the potentiometers, and they started using it in their AE-1 camera. Very quickly Nikon and Pentax started doing the same thing. The other first user happened to be somebody completely opposite - now we're talking about the early 70s - and that user was Controlled Data Corporation; used to be in business a long time ago. CDC's aerospace group who had some very dense multi-layer boards of mixed dielectric layers of PTFE Teflon, layers of FR4, ECL ecologic, lots and lots of termination needs and absolutely no real estate on some of their high-speed digital boards for termination.

So the idea of being able to print and etch a resistive element, and embed it within a circuit layer, particularly underneath an IC package, speeded up board area for them, allowed them to terminate. They got some other benefits of better electricals. They started using us and then very quickly thereafter, other divisions of CDC started using us in things like their cyber mainframe computer systems, and it kind of dovetailed into people like Cray Research and their supercomputers, and we went from there to super mini computers  , places like Digital Equipment and Prime and Wayne, and Data General and Harris. All the guys in the 80s who had ecologic termination needs. So it was the heyday back in the 80s, and a lot of mainframes, supercomputers, super mini computers, kind of like with those very, very powerful systems that people now carry in their cellular phones-

In their pocket right?

-at the time it was very, very powerful though. And so, although two different areas of growth we - in the 70s and 80s - found new applications and digital application, particularly termination, but we also started working very closely with the military aerospace industry where they saw the elimination of solder joints being a very positive thing. You know, high g-force doesn't affect it -vibration - there's no joint there in the resistor circuits. So we started working with a lot of them in the military aerospace, space-based applications, radars, antenna power dividers, high-speed digital systems - just a variety of different things. And it's evolved from there, it seems that every five years new technology comes on that says I need to use that. We can talk more about that - we'll get back to maybe the basics of what do we actually do, how do we make it.

Yeah so let's talk about OhmegaPly®, what is it? What is it like to process, and let's just go in and tell us the whole story.

Oh man, you want to go right back to the beginning again. Okay the OhmegaPly® technology is a thin film resistive foil. Now we became Ohmega Technologies - a spinoff of Mica - started as a separate independent company in 1983, and we basically took over that whole technology from Mica, and what that technology involves, is taking copper foil as a standard EDE electrodeposited copper foil that the printed circuit industry uses, and we threw in a reel-to-reel deposition process as a plated process. We plate a very thin coating of a nickel phosphorous NiP resistive alloy onto the mat or two side of that copper and by varying the thickness of that resistive coating we can vary the sheet resistivity. And so this product - a true thin film nickel phosphorus alloy - we're talking about fractions of a micron thick film, so it's truly thin film. So we have a variety of different sheet resistivities, a 10 ohm per square is about a 1 micron thick film, a 25 ohm per square's a 0.4 micron, 50 ohm is 0.2 micron. So it's very linear, as the film that we deposit gets thinner the sheet resistivity goes up. Now we start getting into the dangerous territory of talking about things like ohms per square and I don't want to start having your listener's eyes cross over some strange area, but suffice it to say, it follows thin film technology.

So what we do is, we make a resistive foil that's a copper foil resistive coating. Now what that foil does, that's what we make at our facilities, in our factory in Culver City California very close to LAX or a few miles away. We've been doing it now  , for literally 40 years plus at that facility. That resistive foil then gets laminated or bonded to a variety of dielectrics. We work with people like Rogers Arlon, Taconic, we work with Isola we work with Noko, we do some work with DuPont we're working with others out there, but essentially the resistive foil can be bonded to almost any kind of dielectric just like any other copper foil. Standard pressing, heat pressure, it bonds to a variety of dielectrics. Now that laminate product - a copper clad laminate with the resistive film between the copper and the substrate - goes to the printed circuit board community, the PCB community, then prints and etch copper circuitry. They normally will do a print develop, extra process to create copper circuits.

Now they go through a separate (an additional) print develop bed strip so it's a two-print operation and the first print is defining where they have copper traces, then they etch away all excess copper and they etch away all excess resistive film underneath their copper. Now they have copper circuitry. Underneath all that copper circuitry is a resistive material, but electrically it's shorted out by the copper above it. Well you have a spot for tracers.

Makes sense.

That's a point think of it as a treatment of copper only like a zinc or a brass.

Okay.

Now the board shops come back and they apply more photoresist over that copper circuitry and they print a second piece of artwork and that artwork protects all the areas that they wish to keep as copper, and exposes for etching the copper that will be the resistive element. Now in almost all cases, the first etch will define the width of that copper that will be the width of that resistive element. So the second image artwork defines a length of copper that will be the length of the resistor. So it's a very simple piece of artwork to use; very easy to register, but after protecting the copper with photoresist, now they etch away the exposed copper using the 'aplan' based etchings, and they leave behind the resistive film that was underneath it, and they have a resistive element.

Interesting.

-stripping photoresist off the board; leaves them with copper circuitry with resistive elements that are integral to that copper plane. Those resistors can be tested for value, they can go through standard multi-layer processing, laid up with other cores, pressed and then forget you have the resistive elements embedded, if it goes through traditional drilling, print, develop, etch, strip process, or plate process I should say.

So you do a drilling and you desmear, you plate, you etch and your embedded resistor inside; and as a bare board now, prior to shipping for assembly, the board shop can do traditional testing, and they can measure resistor values to ensure they're within spec. They could also be used on the surface of a board, in which case you solder mask over the resistive elements along with your copper traces, and that protects them from abrasion and scratching. The key here is this though: if you use a discrete resistive element, an 0402, an O201. An O201 is a 10 mil by 20 mil resistor. They're pretty small;

Yeah.

-hard to handle, hard to assemble. So if I go to a board shop now and say: hey guys I want you to etch a copper trace that's 10 mil wide, they're gonna look and they'll laugh and say: come on you're insulting us!-

Yeah.

-we do 5 & 5, 4 & 4, 3 & 3, 2 & 2 technology. So etching a 10 mil trace isn't a big deal, five mil trace is not a biggo. When they etch that copper trace, they're essentially defining the width of the resistor, so it's like a controlled impedance trace. They're creating a resistive element of a certain width. Now you say: can you cover it with photoresist and have a little box window that's 20 ml long? Sure that's not a big deal if you etch the copper away. Now they've left themselves with a 10 mil by 20 mil resistive element, which does not push the art at all, it's already built in, no assembly, and all that. So if you say: hey can they do a 5 mil by 10 mil resistor? Sure, we have applications that are using 50 micron by 100 micron resistor. If a board shop connected that copper trace, that's the limit of the resistor width you can print. So you can get a significantly small, very, very, precise resistors that could be located right where you want them, under a package, and that's where we're doing a lot of newer applications like microfluidic heaters, you're talking about a couple mils, by four or five mils you can get very small heat rises in a very localized area, very low power, but I'm ahead of myself.

Okay yeah well so I'm thinking about our audience right now, who are EEs doing design, or just purist board designers for the most part. Why would I want to use OhmegaPly® over traditional? I mean you just mentioned one, if I had space restrictions and I didn't want to use these tiny, tiny parts that seems like a no-brainer but is it real estate, is it cost? Like what drives people - I think I'm opening a can of worms, sorry but what is the cost, performance, reliability implications? And if I was a designer, why would I want to use OhmegaPly®?

Okay, it's a good question and people use it for a variety of reasons. The best reason we like to hear is: I have a design and there's no other way I can design this thing unless I get rid of my resistor and so, kind of I get a tear, I well up a bit, I get very emotional-

[laughter]

-with those. Because then it's all driven by performance and densification.

Right.

But look at everybody - realistically - cost is a big driver, as is performance, and obviously densification all goes hand in hand with reliability. I would say most designers design with us for a number of reasons. The key reason that we focus on densification and that is this: if I have a certain number of resistors on a board and I said:  I'm having a hard time routing. I have a lot of passes on my board, either I have to route in more layers, so I'm adding to a multi layer design for its traditional through hole, and I'm gonna have to go to HDI which adds a lot of cost to my board. Or my form factor, my X&Y; dimension is a little too big I need to shrink it down, or my board’s a little too thick, I'm gonna make it a little thinner. So here's a tool, a technology that allows you to do that.

So let's say I have one resistor in a unit area of a board, and somebody says, well gee I want to etch in a pretty natural resistor. Okay who’s cost’s it going to be? It's gonna cost whatever our materials, divided by one. There's gonna be one resistor. Now instead I have ten resistors - what's the cost? It's our unit cost divided by ten because it's the same material that goes through the same print and etch process. So the greater the number of the resistors lower the cost per unit resistor. One application that uses our technology - and this is where it reinvents itself. A number of years ago - five/six years ago - it started being used in MEMS microphone.

If any of your listeners out there, any of your designers have a cell phone, you very likely have us in your cell phone in the MEMS microphone that you're talking out of, or you're listening out of right now. Now why use us in a MEMS microphone? We're part of an RC filter network which improves the sound fidelity significantly. So it's been found to be a very significant offering by the MEMS microphone makers and their end customers who are the cell phone manufacturers - but in very massive, mass quantity production - for many, many years over in the Far East, particularly in China, where our product is used extensively. So in those applications it was a combination of densification, they can make these MEMS microphone boards. The PCB's thinner because they eliminate the chip resistor, you don't have to assemble it, they can make them a little bit smaller and because you're talking about such small little element - even a few resistors only a couple resistors - in that design, you're talking about a fraction of a cent to put these resistive elements in a board. Fraction of a cent, no assembly-

Yeah when they're in the millions that matters.

-all that's very important. There's another example. If I'm a designer and say: hey I have a high-density IO/IC. My fast rise times I have some termination issues but I'm on a 300 micron pad batch and there's no way I can put a discrete component on my surface. To go ahead and terminate, I have too far to go. I have too many of these line. So I have IO of hundreds of traces, maybe a thousand traces, and I do it but guess what? If you're able to take every trace, every logic trace coming off that that IO and I build a resistor as part of that trace - to have a trace it has just a little of the copper removed - leaving a resistive element behind.

So it's a resistor built-in trace which is one of our products: ORBIT Ohmega resistors built-in trace - you can terminate every one of those drivelines - they're underneath the IC package, so they take up no board area. They terminate off that driveline, you improve impedance now, naturally reduce line delay, you also save money because now you literally have hundreds of resistors in a square inch of area or a couple square inches of area, and it saves a lot of cost by not having to assemble and put those discretes on your board now. So cost is a big driver. I just mentioned a couple of them. Densification is as well, but our material also is essentially inductive free. So you know, it means that you have less inductive reactance with fast rise times. So what happens; you get less EMI coming off your board, it's a cleaner signal. Our materials, also because of that, used in certain applications for absorbers or, R cards where they used us, that resistive film, to suppress some of the EMI coming off for-

-interesting

-as a shielding agent. So there's another application. So we're used extensively, not just in power dividers and R cards and absorbers, but obviously as terminators, as in filters, pull-up/pulldown resistors and now we're seeing a lot of activity in heater elements. We're in the military aerospace uses a 'cell' so my active laser activation where they have tiny resistive elements on PCBs that can go ahead and activate a laser for laser guidance for smart munitia, missile systems, or  heater elements that can go ahead and maintain heat on critical components in avionics or even in space based applications. Or our product is used in satellites and even in deep space probes. We were on the Mars Express Beagle 2 Lander, on the surface of Mars where we have an Ohmega heater, key critical components up to above minus 15° C. It would work great if the parachute did not land on top of the lander

[laughter]

and prevent the deployment of the solar array but hey it was a great application for our product.

Well it's again - I think just such a surprise - or at least it was to me, when I learned about one: how old the technology is and two: that it's really because of complexity and just all the different things that are going on in the industry right now that it's growing - it's growing at a quick pace.

Significantly so, we've had a wonderful record year; every year is a record year. But that's the nice thing, that the resistive film is like a blank slate. What you do with it is a new assignor and so yeah in the 80s it was all ecologic termination and then it goes into power dividers, and they're still doing all that stuff. But you know what's happening now is, we're saying, it’s utilized in so many different ways so we talked about the MEMS microphone. Well there's new sensor technology, there's accelerometers or other there's other MEMS-type sensors who use us. Now we see automotive sensor technology that says: hey, we could use this, not only is it obviously super-high reliability, been out for decades you know, can be done in high volumes, very cost-effective, density impact identification. But there's some critical components you could use in automotive, 5G technology-

What about IoT Bruce, it seems like ideal for IoT, provided the cost-

-in IoT you're saying?

Yes.

The Internet of Things well that's why I'm talking about sensor technologies. IoT is a combination of a lot of things.

Yes.

Technologies are getting into it, we see our stuff on flexible materials, and wearables.

Your wearables, yeah that was the other thing I was wondering about.

Wearable devices, we can get smaller home devices, home audio devices, and as things get thinner, smaller, everybody wants things densified. So getting rid of the passives especially, really allows you to do that. So yeah IoT is a big thing, automotive, even memory devices going to DDR4, going out to DDR5 , those fast data rates are causing needs for termination again, and 'Genic' has approved the embedded resistor within some of the DDR4 structures. So memory is another area. So between sensor technologies and automotive, and home devices in things like memory devices, and things like heater microfluidic heater bio biomedical type things you know. We have micro heaters on an embedded board, you can have fluid come in and have basically a breakdown to the protein to do analysis,  they use us for things like that. It's pretty exciting - so yeah it's been around for 45 years but guess what, we think that the new technologies, the new applications, it's almost like just starting over again.

Yeah I can see that.

Especially, we have the reliability long-term use, high volume low volume, high density/low density, so many different ways of doing it so, that's nice to have that background, make people feel good about using the technology, but knowing that all these new things are developing. I mean I can't wait for the next 45 years.

That's fun.

Well a couple of things I wanted to ask you about what made me think of calling you and wanting to do this - sort of a side note - is, you hear about passives being on allocation and all of that and I'm like: I wonder if Bruce is seeing an uptick just because people are freaking out over automotive buying up whole lines - I don't know if you're seeing that, it was just a curiosity I had?

Well yeah I know what you're saying, we definitely see an uptick, and now part of that uptick within the context of the of the industry. First off, I do want to tell your audience, especially your designers, we've been doing this for 40 - 45 years plus, as I mentioned - 46 years. I'd like to say that I was only 2 years old when I first got introduced to technology-

-We're going with that; I was three, you were two - let's go with that!

But we also have designers at our company whose job it is to work with the design community, particularly a PCB designer who could help them optimize their design, who can develop real footprints of resistors. What we don't want your your listeners to do, is reinvent the wheel; we want you to use our knowledge, talk to our people - say: hey here's what I think I'd like to do, I have an application I want to use, does it make sense for your technology? If it doesn't, we don't want you wasting your time. So ultimately you're gonna say, we're not gonna use it anyway we want you to have an optimized design because we want you to be successful. So think of us as an extension of yourself, of your team.

We're part of your design team we're there to help and assist. If you go to our website   ohmega.com, there's a lot of white papers, there's a lot of good information there that people could read and reference. But more importantly is the communication with our staff, technical people who can really help you. Now talking about in general, the industry, there is an uptick in that. We talked about passive, so I mentioned it; we're in filters and MEMS microphones, resistors and capacitors and in one case, one of the capacitive materials, the embedded capacitor material FaradFlex, which is a embedded capacitor material, it's produced by Oak Mitsui. So Ohmega Technologies, my company and Oak Mitsui, got together and combined the material and had our resistive material on their capacitor material so we'd have one layer resistive capacitor.

What? My head just exploded!

What we did was we found that it's pretty simple, from a technology standpoint, to stick two technologies, each separately have its own complexity but working together really worked very well. Importantly enough it had such synergistic effects in terms of improved power, lower RTC characteristics, or change of resistance to function the temperature down to almost nothing, the stability is astounding over a wide temperature range that we applied and we got a jointly held patent for the combined technology which we have in the US, and also all over the world now. So it's a joint technology pact between Ohmega Technologies and between Oak Mitsui and Mitsui Mine in Japan for this technology, and we see applications where if somebody wants to get a resistor and embed it, they also want to embed the capacitor. They get rid of capacitors that are passive. A lot of times they want to get rid of resistors too. So it goes hat in hand with a lot of those.

In general, there is a lot of movement in the industry to embed it, but it's a growing thing because of densification, growing needs for real estate, smaller, thinner, lighter. You touched upon something and that is material sources, right now  the industry is going through some uptick. I think part of that's military aerospace that has increased the amount of funding and a lot of military programs, but also other areas. So we've seen that as well and our products are used in a lot of stuff. Radar systems F-35, F-22, a lot of missile systems, Eurofighter,  just all over the place. A lot of satellites, a lot of SATCOM, a lot of other things like that.

A lot of radars on the ground as well, but we're seeing that uptick because the IoT, as you mentioned, in the Internet of Things, there's more and more sensitive technologies being demanded into a lot of different product. People are amazed at how many sensors go into so many things these days and the key with a lot of that, is densification, smaller, faster, cheaper - so that gets hand-in-hand with the 5G, the automotive, self-driving cars that are coming up; a lot of the sensors the Lidar, other sensor technologies are going to self-driving automobiles and what everybody says is: hey, this all sounds great, but you know what?  If I have a printed circuit board not using a computer and I have a failure in that it's okay. So it's annoying my computer goes, I swap a board, I put up a board, but I cannot afford to have any failure. I cannot afford to have anything go wrong, if I'm in an automobile that's driving itself, do you have room for any kind of failure? And so it's taken very seriously in the industry and going to a lot of these conferences and hearing the talks, the people involved with testing a lot of these are very concerned. They have to have absolute... as tough as it was, they have to make it even tougher for testing. Nothing can fail, so a lot of that comes into what can we do to improve reliability? Hey let's get rid of solder joints.

We want a kind of thing doesn't cause something go 'ding' and fly off a board anymore - or you know X&Y; expansion or z-axis expansion, all those things. Get rid of those solder joints, mechanical joints, improve the reliability while you enhance, densify, improved electrical performance. So we're saying that that's going on right now. And the other thing is that   companies are concerned about, the industry is facing some interesting things right now in the printed circuit industry copper lead times are really out.

Yeah, that's crazy too.

-yeah the industry is getting smaller and smaller, yet at the same time the end-users and designers have to rely more and more on fewer and fewer resources. So we've been around since like I said 1972, so for 46 years we've been supplying this technology and we have never ever not been able to supply this in those 46 years. It's important for us that, A) we manufacture everything ourselves we make that resistive film we test it, we have test facilities which make sure that the product is what it should be before it ships out the door. We have hands-on manufacturing that's critical we don't want to subcontract making our product because we feel it's too important to our customers. They're relying on us. If we subcontracted, what would happen if whoever we had make it, went out of business? Or they sold the business; I don't want to do it anymore, and then we can't get product, our customers can't. We don't want to rely on someone else; that's number one.

Number two, we have very good close working relationships with our raw material suppliers. Most of our raw materials are USA-based, we get them in from the US you know. We want to have a critical supply chain. When you're talking about scarce resources like copper and other things, it's important that we have that kind of relationship with our suppliers so that we always have product. We're always there to support our customer needs when they need it, how they need it, and that to me is very, very important because a lot of companies are coming to us saying: oh yeah we're giving two months lead time on getting product, and how are we supposed to deal with that? And say what about you guys? I said: you want some of our stuff we'll ship it tomorrow. To us that's very important. Customer; you've got to go ahead and satisfy customer needs and especially their concerns that's absolutely critical in the industry today.

Yeah and it's refreshing because we get in this weird cultural thing as a business and it's like: Oh faster, cheaper or we're gonna be the lean supply chain and buy out. We get into this whole frenetic thing, but we forget if we're not meeting any of the customers we'll be out of business. So I really love that philosophy. Now as far as our listeners go Bruce, we're gonna share all of this in the show notes right. Everything that's on your website I encourage it, so we're going to supply all those links and the website you guys, if you're interested you can call Ohmega Technologies directly, get the help that Bruce alluded to. But they have a really great website with some really neat things that will go into even more depth than Bruce has gone into so far.

So thank you so much. So Bruce, as we wrap up here. First of all, thank you Bruce is joining us from IMS in Philadelphia today even though he's - at Ohmega in Culver, so thank you for hopping out of the show for a few minutes to give our listeners a treat, so thank you for that. When I wrap up the podcast I always like to have a little feature in here called 'designers after hours' because most of us techie weirdos have a little bit of a right brain and have interesting hobbies I've found. Is there anything that you do after hours that is creative, compelling, interesting or otherwise, or do you have any after hours? do you just work all the time Bruce?

Do I have any after hours? That's a good question.

Yeah we encourage people to call us and that keeps me rather active and the staff at Ohmega and we welcome that; please, please, please call us, email us, we'd love to talk to you and listen to you. As to me yeah I enjoy travel, I enjoy writing you know, I always have . Now it's mostly technical things or papers that I publish. But you know, I love doing fiction as well, I do do that and I get very involved. Between that and having a lot of crazy grandchildren running underfoot, that keeps me going.

That fills up your plate. So also, would you say you are a geek or a nerd?

I'm sorry?

Would you say you are a geek or a nerd?

That's a good question, I'm probably more geek than nerd yeah they've cleaned me up over the years, so I think I'm more geeky.

Yeah I would say you're more geeky, but you are walking on the razor's edge my friend. You can you can dip into that nerd space pretty easily.

[laughter]

Oh man, and I've been so good I haven't cracked any jokes, you can be mad about.

[laughter]

Here I am, now you're telling me I'm close-

-no, no only in the best kind of way that you like go into this nerdy space of technology but that's really -

-you want to know something; it's been a long time, I've been doing this a long time and I'm so excited - it's like it's a renewal if people get that I'm excited about technology about where Ohmega fits into technology it's because I really AM. It's genuine, our president Allan Leve, over at Ohmega Technologies,   here's a guy who's had the same kind of passion. So every time we see something, we're always sending articles: look at this it’s neat isn't it? So if you call that nerdy, you call that geeky, that's fine. You know what we call it being enthused with technology and how we fit into that technology.

Absolutely.

-because I've been called a nerd and a geek I'm gonna drown myself in a Phillies steak salad.

-extra cheese and onions.

[laughter]

No - when I say you teeter is only because I remember when I was working at Transline Technology, you came in and you were showing us how it's done, how it's processed as a board shop - and I remember listening to you going: this guy totally knows his stuff and it was so articulate and I'm like, boy when I grow up I want to be able to talk like this. Like Bruce Mahler does, man he's got it going on! So that's why I say-

-just wait until I grow up really.

-well it is an exciting time in technology there's no grass growing under our feet so I share your enthusiasm for everything that's in the market and you're seeing everything so that is really exciting. Well thank you again for -

-thank you I appreciate it Judy, the opportunity to spend time with you and spend time with your audience, and hi to everyone out there - look forward to talking with you, look forward to working with you and like I said; a lot of exciting things out there right now in our industry so we're working in the best industry out there.

We are, now we're gonna send poor Bruce back to booth duty where he can stand in a booth. Sorry to send you back to booth but thank you so much. Again this has been Judy Warner with Altium's OnTrack Podcast and Bruce Mahler of Ohmega Technologies. Thanks for tuning in again until we hear or talk to you next time always remember to stay on track.

 

 

Click here to view all Episodes

Or click here to access the Altium Designer Free Trial Today.

 

 

About the Author

Judy Warner


Judy Warner has held a unique variety of roles in the electronics industry since 1984. She has a deep background in PCB Manufacturing, RF and Microwave PCBs and Contract Manufacturing with a focus on Mil/Aero applications in technical sales and marketing.

She has been a writer, contributor and journalist for several industry publications such as Microwave Journal, The PCB Magazine, The PCB Design Magazine, PDCF&A and IEEE Microwave Magazine and is an active member of multiple IPC Designers Council chapters.

In March 2017, Warner became the Director of Community Engagement for Altium and immediately launched Altium’s OnTrack Newsletter.
She led the launch of AltiumLive: Annual PCB Design Summit, a new and annual Altium User Conference.

Judy's passion is to provide resources, support and to advocate for PCB Designers around the world.

Follow on Twitter Follow on Linkedin Visit Website More Content by Judy Warner
Previous Article
Design for Manufacturability (DFM) and Assembly (DFA) tips with Jay Colognori
Design for Manufacturability (DFM) and Assembly (DFA) tips with Jay Colognori

DFM and Design for Assembly (DFA) are important to engineers who know you can’t just design a PCB and throw...

Next Article
Concurrent Engineering with Bill Brooks from Nordson Asymtek
Concurrent Engineering with Bill Brooks from Nordson Asymtek

Hear how Bill spends the time up front to get everyone aligned during the PCB design process to ensure fabr...