holiday travel safetyAs the year comes to an end, holiday travel begins to increase. Whether going home to see family or taking a year-end vacation, crowds in airports and on roads significantly surge in November and December. In addition to the feeling of holiday hustle and bustle, this extra traffic presents many opportunities to practice travel safety.

Safety is the top priority at Rogers. This means safety everywhere: on the production floor, in the office and especially while traveling.  At Rogers Corporation, being a global company means many of our employees travel for work. Here are some good travel and safety tips our employees have picked up over the years.

  1. Allow yourself plenty of time.

“Go wisely and slowly. Those who rush, stumble and fall.” – William Shakespeare

Take your time. Allow plenty of time to get through security at the airport, to drive through traffic on the freeway and to enjoy the people and sites you are visiting.

  1. Be prepared for unfamiliar territory.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

When traveling somewhere unfamiliar, it is exciting to see new sites and have new experiences. However, take some time to acquaint yourself with these new surroundings. Review the hotel’s evacuation route, examine a city map before visiting and plan to arrive in the city during daylight for easier navigation.

  1. Have backup identification on hand. Just in case.

“If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world.” – Francis Bacon

The sentiment of this quote is true; grace and courtesy go a long way no matter where you are visiting. Still, it is always a good idea to have a backup ID. Whether it is to get through airport security, purchase goods or check-in to a hotel, the need to provide identification seems to be more common while traveling. In the off chance that your primary form of identification is lost, having a secondary ID saved in a different location (say, your luggage instead of your wallet) can help avoid several headaches.

  1. Make sure your vehicle is ready.

“I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.” – Walt Whitman

If you are driving your personal vehicle, give it a good check-up before embarking on a road trip. Proper fluid levels and a well-charged battery allow for peace of mind as you navigate busy schedules and even busier roads. Whether renting a car or driving your own, be sure to check the weather and be ready for upcoming road conditions. Cold forecasts can require considerable planning. Some good items to equip your vehicle with include an ice scraper, blanket, water, rock salt and even a shovel.

  1. Enjoy yourself.

“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.” – Mark Twain

While this may not be a practical tip to help you prepare for your upcoming holiday or vacation, it is an important one to remember. Enjoy yourself and find the humor in situations that may be less than ideal. Stuck in traffic driving up the road for a holiday dinner? Have a family karaoke session. Flight delayed while flying across the country for a much-needed getaway? Catch up on your reading list. By finding joy, regardless of the situation, you can help alleviate the stresses of travel and enjoy the memories being made.

From all of us at Rogers Corporation, with a bit of preparedness and positivity, we hope you enjoy a happy and safe holiday season.

Selected quotes from our recent earnings call. Read the corporate financials news release: Rogers Corporation Reports Third Quarter 2018 Results.

In Q3 2018, Rogers achieved record revenues of $227 million, compared to $201.4 million in Q3 2017. Sales were at the midpoint of our previously released guidance.

Bruce Hoechner, CEO, on Growth Drivers

Advanced Mobility

In advanced mobility, we are seeing a significant increase in demand for EV/HEV applications as automakers continue their race to introduce more EV and HEV models, which gives us great optimism around demand. In ADAS, we expect to see continued penetration of our materials as automotive safety features become standard in mass market models. We continue to work closely with a broad range of customers to support current demand and develop products that will enable the performance of emerging technologies. We are seeing substantial opportunities in areas that include the next generation of ADAS radar as well as advanced performance EV and HEV power systems.

Advanced Connectivity

In advanced connectivity applications, we have developed new platform products that have received an enthusiastic response from our customers. These products are aimed at significantly enhancing the performance of the highly demanding 5G infrastructure in both base stations and massive MIMO antenna systems.

Bruce Hoechner, CEO, on Rogers’ Business Units

Advanced Connectivity Solutions (ACS) delivered third quarter net sales of $72 million, which were relatively flat compared to the third quarter of 2017 and a decrease of 6% compared to the second quarter of 2018. Lower-than-expected revenues were due to weaker demand for applications in 4G LTE and ADAS. Softness in wireless infrastructure was associated with sluggish demand for 4G LTE applications in anticipation of the transition to 5G. We’ve seen a number of positive indicators regarding the 5G build-out. According to industry sources, leading smartphone manufacturers are now set to roll out 5G-enabled models in the first half of 2019. In addition, there have been successful service provider field test results in both China and the US. Further, industry experts are predicting 2019 5G base station installations of roughly 100,000 to 200,000 units. Rogers continues to achieve substantial design wins with significantly higher content than 4G LTE from all major telecom equipment OEMs. We are preparing for this major growth opportunity through ongoing capacity expansion projects, including our recent plant and equipment acquisition in Chandler, Arizona.

In Q3, Elastomeric Material Solutions (EMS) delivered all-time record net sales of $96 million. Organic sales revenues increased 8% over Q3 2017. Including contributions from the Griswold business, revenues increased 17% over Q3 2017 and 21% sequentially. Net sales were driven by strong demand in automotive applications, particularly EV/HEV battery pads and battery pack sealing systems, in addition to seasonal strength in portable electronics. Looking ahead, we expect to see the broad-based growth for EMS applications to continue, with particular strength in EV/HEV applications.

In Q3, Power Electronics Solutions (PES) achieved net sales of $55 million, an increase of 19% over Q3 2017 and a 3% increase over the second quarter of 2018. We saw particular strength in EV/HEV applications, where we were up over 50% year-over-year and 20% sequentially. Part of this strong EV/HEV growth was driven by record demand for our new-generation silicon nitride materials for wide bandgap semiconductor packaging. We also saw a strong demand for ROLINX power interconnects in electric vehicle applications. Looking ahead, we anticipate continued robust growth in demand for our EV/HEV applications.

Q3 2018 Earnings Call Transcript

Q3 2018 Financial Press Release

Q3 2018 Earnings Call Slides

 

The future of manufacturing faces two large changes:

  1. The shortage of skilled labor entering the manufacturing workforce
  2. The integration of robotics to streamline automation and human-robot collaboration

The labor shortage faced in manufacturing is astronomical. It is predicted that by 2025, 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be open due to job creation and retirements. However, at the current rate, 2 million of those jobs will be left unfilled. (Source: Deloitte The skills gap in US manufacturing outlook analysis)

Enter: Manufacturing Day

Manufacturing Day is a USA-based, nationwide movement to change this narrative. Celebrated on the first Friday of October, this collaborative event serves as an invitation to introduce the future workforce to opportunities in the industry. And trust us, there are many opportunities.

At publication time, 42 of the 66 jobs currently available at Rogers Corporation are in the manufacturing field. As robotics integration and industry 5.0 progress, even more jobs will be created. So, why should the incoming workforce be excited about working in these positions?

Manufacturing is good for the economy, which is good for the employee

For every $1 invested in manufacturing, the US sees $1.89 added to the economy, the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector (Source: National Association of Manufacturers and IMPLAN economic impact solutions). In addition to a sustainable career choice, manufacturing is an evolving and exciting field. It takes manufacturing to turn ideas into a reality. Whether it be a smart home that knows when to turn the lights on and off or a fleet of self-driving cars making roadways safer, these innovations are helped made possible by the manufacturers that execute their creation.

Innovation is born (or, built) in manufacturing

In fact, manufacturers in the United States perform more than three-quarters of all private-sector research and development (R&D) in the nation, driving more innovation than any other sector (Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis). At Rogers, we contribute to that statistic. With our strategic pillar to be an innovation-driven company, we support new product development in our Business Unit R&D departments, as well as our Innovation Centers.

Speaking of innovation…

Part of innovation in manufacturing is the integration of robotics into the manufacturing process. Currently, there is a strong push to automate repetitive tasks to deliver consistent quality. For example, the below video loop demonstrates robots assisting by loading and unloading parts from a conveyor belt.

 

However, increasing complexity in factories will call for greater robotics integration. As put by Marc Beulque, VP of Global Operations at Rogers:

Industry 5.0 recognizes that man and machine must be interconnected to meet the manufacturing complexity of the future in dealing with increasing customization through an optimized robotized manufacturing process.

An example of this is shown in the video below, where a camera system collects data as the robot performs the task of plugging in an electric car for charging. With this, a worker can complete several tasks via robot at one time and, if any discrepancies are noted by the vision system, they will be notified and can correct it.

 

See? Manufacturing is cool.

So join us, both in celebrating Manufacturing Day and by applying to join our team. The future of manufacturing is exciting and we are thrilled to be working towards these changes.

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Cultivating a Global Team

On September 25, 2018, in Careers/Human Resources, Corporate, by mdippel

Currently, Rogers Corporation has sixteen manufacturing locations and seven additional global sales offices spanning nine countries around the world. These locations boast a workforce of more than 3,400 employees. While these numbers are notable, they only tell part of the story.

Rogers is a truly global company, where we get to interact regularly with colleagues across the world.

“Working with colleagues in different regions of the world often brings different perspectives,” says Mike Brodeur, Senior Web Developer. “These different ideas, when brought together, quite often make our final solution more effective and well thought out.”

Mike’s observation is a sentiment shared throughout the company. “My role has me interacting across multiple continents on a daily basis,” says Sheryl Long, Senior Global Marketing Communications Manager. “I enjoy seeing so many people from different parts of the world and different cultures working together towards mutual goals.”

Our global manufacturing footprint means we can be responsive to customers in each region we serve. According to Steve Ubelhoer, North America Sales Director:

Local manufacturing increases options for customers. It means local production in the same time zone and often the same language for quicker answers, less transit time for materials when demand spikes, fewer worries about tariffs, taxes and customs and duplicate production capabilities for disaster recovery plans. In a world where customers are looking for suppliers to reduce their concerns, this is often a significant advantage for Rogers that our competitors cannot offer.

Not only does Rogers have a wide range of facility locations, but we also have career opportunities across numerous disciplines. From manufacturing and production to IT and finance, it takes a diverse workforce to keep Rogers moving forward. If this exciting and bustling global organization is something that you would enjoy being a part of, check out our current career opportunities.

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Managing PCB Materials: Dielectric Constant (Dk)

On September 11, 2018, in Uncategorized, by sharilee

This post authored by John Coonrod originally appeared on the ROG Blog hosted by Microwave Journal.

Choosing a high frequency circuit board material often requires weighing several factors, including cost and performance. A key starting point in sorting through printed circuit board (PCB) materials is usually the dielectric constant, or Dk, one of the essential characteristics of a laminate material and one that is subject to many comparisons among different suppliers of PCB materials.

ROG_DkApp_finalThe dielectric constant of a laminate refers to a measure of the capacitance or energy between a pair of conductors in the vicinity of the laminate compared to that pair of conductors in a vacuum. The value for a vacuum is 1.0, with all other materials having a value somewhat higher than that. A laminate with higher values of Dk can store more energy than materials with lower Dk values. But at higher Dk values, electromagnetic energy will flow at a slower rate through the conductors (lower frequency).

Several earlier blog posts addressed different approaches available to measure the Dk of PCB materials. These methods involve different test fixtures and circuit configurations, such as the clamped stripline resonator test method and the full sheet resonance (FSR) test. Unfortunately, depending upon the laminate being measured and the frequency, these methods can reveal very different values of Dk for the same material under test.

For that reason, Rogers Corp. has developed alternative sets of dielectric-constant values, Design Dk values, to represent the company’s laminates during the design and engineering stages. These are Dk values that can be used reliably and accurately within commercial computer-aided-engineering (CAE) software tools. The Design Dk values are measured by yet other measurement techniques, the differential phase length method. The approach is based on fabricating two microstrip circuits of significantly different length on the same laminate and in close proximity, identical in every way except for length. The test method measures the transmission characteristics of a quasi-transverse-electromagnetic (quasi-TEM) wave propagation and its phase response for a pair of microstrip transmission line circuits. By comparing the expected phase of the lines for a given frequency with the measured results, it can be possible to calculate the Dk for the laminate. In this approach, a large difference in length, such as 1:3, is recommended to simplify the measurements; the shorter circuit will limit the low-frequency accuracy.

But rather than just take Rogers’ word for it, it is also possible to apply the differential phase length method to a laminate of choice to determine its Dk firsthand. For those interested, Rogers Corp. now offers free downloadable software, Rogers’ Microstrip Dk Calculator Software, to determine PCB Dk values. The software works with the aid of associated test equipment, such as a microwave vector network analyzer (VNA). A high-quality test fixture should be used with the same signal launch for both circuits under test. The software can gather data from the measurements and produce a plot of Dk versus frequency, of particular value to designers of broadband circuits wishing to know the dielectric constant of the laminate beyond a certain operating frequency range. The range of frequencies across which this method can test depends on the lengths of the circuits, the return loss between the test fixture and the analyzer, and a number of different network analyzer parameters. The accuracy of the measurements depends on these different parameters and the length ratio between the two transmission lines. In addition to the software, an operator’s manual for performing the measurements can also be downloaded for free. The user’s manual provides details about the test method and why it tends to provide reliable results for Dk values.

These Design Dk values are generated for all of Rogers’ commercial laminates, based on this measurement method. The Rogers Microstrip Dk Calculator Software is available online for free download from the Rogers Technology Support Hub, which also includes technical papers and videos and several calculators, including the latest version of the MWI Microwave Impedance and loss calculator, MWI-2017. This free downloadable software tool features an improved grounded coplanar model and added capability to display the Design DK for any of Rogers’ products in the calculator when using the microstrip model.

Visitors to the Rogers Technology Support Hub can also download a copy of the ROG Converter software, a web-based application designed for a tablet or smartphone. It can provide simple conversions of dimensions from metric to English units and back, for temperature, for copper thickness, for CTE, and for thermal coefficient of dielectric constant (TCDk). Recently added conversions include for return loss: as VSWR, mismatch loss, and reflection coefficient. Based on Rogers’ materials, it can also help when planning multilayer material stack-ups.

Do you have a design or fabrication question? Log in to the Rogers Technology Support Hub and “Ask an Engineer” today.

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