Quest for Reliability: Voices Carry


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The title of my column this month is “Voices Carry,” so not only is it a great chance to revisit the wonderfully written, top-10 hit song by ‘Til Tuesday/Aimee Mann, but it is also a good opportunity to think back to the voices I have heard in the electronics industry, and the voices they heard, and even the ones they heard. I am referring to what I consider to be the voices of modern electronics and electronic assembly processes.

To me, this starts around 1943 with the advent of the PCB. Certainly, many other crucial inventions and advancements were made before that, which paved the way for the PCB to be necessary. But when I think about modern electronics, that includes the bare board as a basis for almost everything we do in this industry. The actual date, according to our friend Google, is 1936 when Paul Eisler developed the PCB while working on a radio set, but it was 1943 when the USA started to further develop and use this technology on a large scale for use in proximity fuses during WWII.

As with a lot of technology we have today, PCB and PCBA advancements were driven by war. It’s a shame that the same type of technology can’t be driven by tacos, but I digress. In 1958, a Texas Instruments employee by the name of Jack Kilby developed the hybrid integrated circuit, which really opened the flood gates of technology. Fun fact: Kilby also led the development of the handheld calculator, which would eventually be put on our wrists, making it very easy to spot the cool kids in a crowd.

To read this entire column, which appeared in the November 2019 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.

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