“When you think about what determines the success of a company, it’s not just about money,” said Tim Gauthier, Global Director of Corporate EHS at Rogers Corp. “For Rogers, success involves listening to customers, investors, employees, channel partners, and regulatory agencies to refine our definition of corporate responsibility.”


At Rogers Corp., corporate responsibility is a commitment to manage our activities in a responsible way: business ethics, health and safety, environmental practices, employee engagement community activities, and human rights.

Recently, customers made it clear they wanted to learn more about Rogers’ corporate responsibility. With this feedback, we assembled a project team and determined that we needed one place on our web site to highlight all the great things we do every day.

This month we launched the Corporate Responsibility hub. It provides an inside look at the conscience of the company and how Rogers operates around the world.

Corporate Responsibility

We organize our responsibilities around seven key pillars:

  • Employee Health and Safety
  • Community Care
  • Environmental
  • Code of Business Ethics
  • Supply Management
  • Energy
  • Quality

The core of our Corporate Responsibility program is Health and Safety. We promote a workplace free of occupational injuries and illness by emphasizing individual responsibility for safety from all employees. This is supported at all levels of management. Since Bruce Hoechner, CEO, joined Rogers, we’ve put a huge effort into health and safety. We’ve significantly reduced injuries and lost time, as the data below shows. We’re especially proud of our employees; they are 100% engaged in the company’s safety programs.

Rogers Corp Injury Case Rate 2016

The Community Care principle demonstrates the fact that we respect and value the diversity reflected in our various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas. Together, we provide each other with an inclusive work environment that fosters respect for our employees and those with whom we do business.

Our Environmental program works to proactively achieve environmental excellence globally.

“Companies who do well in these areas perform better in the market,” said Gauthier. “For Rogers, showcasing our beliefs and our actions that support these beliefs allows us to recruit the best employees, provide the highest quality products, and establish long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with customers and suppliers.”

Our Code of Business Ethics is public information that we invite all to review. We believe that how we conduct our business is just as important as what we achieve.

“Our key stakeholders don’t want to work with a company that’s going to create a bad reputation for them,” stated Gauthier. “They want to know Rogers is a good company, that we take business seriously, and that we treat people well.”

Our Supply Management program is based on our belief that in our interactions with suppliers, employees are to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity.

Reducing our Energy usage and emissions is a critical part of our business.

Through our Quality program, we demonstrate that we are committed to providing products and services that exceed customer expectations.

Rogers will continue to develop the Corporate Responsibility program. Our quality teams are adding processes. Our health and safety teams are evolving programs. And our customers are working with us to advance our products and support procedures.

This is only the beginning of an evolving commitment to demonstrate what we believe in at Rogers Corp.

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This post authored by John Coonrod, Technical Marketing Manager, and team originally appeared on the ROG Blog hosted by Microwave Journal.

VIDEO: High Frequency Circuits Which Bend and Flex

Flexibility can be an important feature for printed-circuit boards (PCBs). Not all circuits are planar; some may need to be bent once to fit a particular product design while some might need to undergo continuous flexing as part of an application. Not all circuit materials are created equal, and some are more mechanically flexibile than others and can survive a certain amount of bending and flexing without damage. Understanding what makes a circuit material capable of bending and flexing, and what happens to it when it is bent or flexed, helps when specifying circuit materials for such uses.

Circuit boards are composites of different materials, such as conductive metals and dielectric materials, each with its own mechanical properties. The material stackup will depend on the type of circuit and the number of circuit layers. As more different materials are combined to form a PCB, especially in multilayer PCBs, the task of predicting the effects of bending and flexing becomes more complex. A key material parameter in determining how well a particular material will bend and flex is the modulus or stiffness of the material, with some of the composite materials of a PCB significantly stiffer, or with much higher modulus values, than others.

For example, the metallization in an RF/microwave PCB, primarily copper, will essentially determine the limits of flexibility in a circuit board since it has the highest modulus value of the material stackup, at 17,000 kpsi. Compare this to the much lower modulus values of dielectric materials, such as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) with ceramic filler, at 300 kpsi, or PTFE with microfiber glass filling, at 175 kpsi. In a typical microstrip circuit, with conductor layer, dielectric, and ground-plane layer, the dielectric layer offers great flexibility but the top and bottom metal layers will set the limits of bending and flexibility for the composite structure.

Since high-frequency circuit boards are composite structures, the differences in flexibility of the component materials must be considered to determine how much bending and flexing a circuit board can withstand without damage to the stiffest of its material components, the metallization layers. This can be done by treating a PCB as if it were a beam being bent, with a certain bend radius depending upon the stiffness of the beam. A rubber beam will bend much more easily than a higher modulus metal beam, and be capable of enduring a much smaller bend radius without cracking. A PCB considered as a beam will also have a certain bend radius depending upon the overall stiffness of the composite group of materials, with the metallization layers setting the limits on the flexibility and minimum bend radius of the circuit board.

As with a beam, when a PCB is bent into a section of an imaginary circle, with a bend radius for that circuit, strain is placed on different parts of the beam and the PCB, with tension on the outer side and compression on the inner side of the bend radius. Between the areas of tension and compression lies an almost infinitely thin transition area or neutral axis with no strain. The strain increases as the distance from the neutral axis to the tension or compression plane increases. In a balanced circuit board, the neutral axis would lie at the geometrically center of the circuit board.

Stress from tension and compression works in different ways on a PCB’s materials, with tension pulling materials apart and compression squeezing them together. For a PCB with microstrip circuitry and copper conductors on the outer bend radius, this means that the stiffest or highest-modulus material in the composite PCB is being subjected to a certain amount of tension that will increase as the bend radius is made smaller. At the same time, the bottom ground plane is also being stressed and subjected to compression. Both forms of stress, if excessive, can lead to cracks in a microstrip circuit’s metallization layers. In addition, stress occurs at the interfaces of materials with different modulus values, such as the intersection of the copper conductor layer and the dielectric layer. Cracks from stress can start at the interface and work through the copper layer. To minimize damage to the metallization layers and ensure reliability in bent and flexed circuit boards, the key is to determine the amount of stress that a particular PCB can endure without cracking the metal layers.

The amount of stress on a PCB from bending and flexing is not simply a matter of knowing the modulus of the stiffest material component but in knowing how the PCB is constructed. For example, in a multilayer circuit board, differences in the thicknesses of the dielectric layers can cause increased amounts of strain when the circuit is bent. Each layer of a multilayer circuit structure will have its own modulus, and the structure will have a modulus as a whole. Since copper is the stiffest material component of most microwave circuits, the thickness of the copper and the percentage of copper in the entire PCB material stackup will contribute a great deal to the overall modulus and flexibility of the PCB as a whole.

Even the type of copper can determine the flexibility of a microwave circuit. Due to differences in the grain structures of rolled copper and electrodeposited (ED) copper, rolled copper is typically better than ED copper for PCBs that must be bent or flexed. For applications that may call for ED copper, some special types of ED copper are available for better bending and flexing than standard ED copper.  In addition, finishes added to copper conductors, such as electroless nickel/immersion gold (ENIG) plating, can add a high modulus to the overall PCB modulus, limiting the amount of bending and flexing that a PCB can safely endure.

Different microwave circuit constructions will present different bending and flexing capabilities. Stripline, with copper conductors sandwiched between upper and lower dielectric layers, is inherently better equipped for bending and flexing than microstrip. The signal conductor layer in a typical stripline construction is at or close to the neutral axis for minimum stress; however, the outer ground planes will typically have high stress.

General guidelines to avoid damage when bending or flexing circuit materials pertain to single-bend and dynamic flexing situations. When a single bend is required, the bend radius should be at least 10 times the thickness of the circuit so that the strain on the circuit layer is 2% or less. For dynamic flexing, strain should be held to less than 0.2% for more than 1 million flex cycles and less than 0.4% for 1 million or less flex cycles.

Readers wishing to learn more about how to model stresses placed on PCBs from bending and flexing are invited to view John Coonrod’s MicroApps presentation, “High Frequency Circuits Which Bend and Flex,” from the 2016 IEEE International Microwave Symposium (IMS). The presentation provides circuit bending prediction models and includes a microstrip example using ½-oz. rolled copper on 5-mil-thick RO3003™ laminate material from Rogers Corp.

ROG Mobile App

Download the ROG Mobile app to access Rogers’ calculators, including the popular Microwave Impedance simulation tool, literature, technical papers, and the ability to oScreen shot 2014-08-08 at 1.33.54 PMrder samples of the company’s high performance printed circuit board materials.

Ask an Engineer

Do you have a design or fabrication question? Rogers Corporation’s experts are available to help. Log in to the Rogers Technology Support Hub and “Ask an Engineer” today.

When reliability, efficiency, and performance are critical, design engineers partner with Rogers to develop and deliver the material technologies they require. Here are some of our newest product power electronics product introductions and RF/microwave design tutorials.

POWER ELECTRONICS SOLUTIONS

Power electronics concepts for the world of tomorrow…today.

VIDEO: Welcome to the World of Rogers’ Power Electronics Solutions

At PCIM Europe 2016, Rogers introduced ROLINX® CapEasy and ROLINX® CapPerformance capacitors busbar assemblies. These new products combine the unique capacitor technology developed by SBE Inc and Rogers Corporation laminated busbars. These assemblies offers a significant reduction in equivalent series inductance (ESL) and equivalent series resistance (ESR) compared with traditional designs. The result is lower total system cost and increased power density, due to lower overshoot voltages and less micro F/kW of required total capacitance. Integrated capacitor-busbar assemblies were developed for critical DC link applications in traction drive inverters for HEV/EV and inverter systems for solar and wind power.

VIDEO: curamik® Ceramic Strategies

curamik® high temperature/high voltage substrates consist of pure copper bonded to a ceramic substrate. They provide great heat conductivity and temperature resistance for high performance and high temperature applications, high insulation voltage, and high heat spreading.

ADVANCED CONNECTIVITY SOLUTIONS

On-demand webinars to help optimize RF/microwave circuit design for fabricators and OEMs.

WEBINAR: Bonding Layer Material Selection for Use in High Performance Multilayer Circuit Board Design

In this webinar, we discuss bonding layer material properties commonly used in high frequency/high reliability applications and how the material selection and fabrication process affect the electrical and mechanical performance of the finished board.

WEBINAR: High Frequency Materials and Characterization up to Millimeter Wave Frequencies

This webinar provides an overview of common test methods used to determine the dielectric constant (Dk) for high frequency materials, followed by a discussion of methods that are best for characterizing material properties for microwave modeling and design.

 

This post authored by John Coonrod, Technical Marketing Manager, and team originally appeared on the ROG Blog hosted by Microwave Journal.

Dielectric constant (Dk) is one of the most important of circuit material parameters and a starting point for circuit designers. The dimensions of high-frequency circuit structures, including different types of transmission lines and the spacing between lines for proper isolation and/or coupling, are determined by the circuit material’s dielectric characteristics. One of the main parameters for understanding those characteristics is Dk. Circuit designers typically grow familiar with different commercial circuit materials, whether flexible or rigid, and may even gain great understanding of how to work with a material having a certain Dk value, such as 3.0.  Many designers grow to trust that the Dk value assigned to a given circuit material is truly accurate and consistent from board to board and base their designs on that trust. But how does the material supplier determine a circuit material’s Dk value anyway?

A circuit laminate’s Dk can be determined by different measurement techniques, generally using a microwave vector network analyzer (VNA) to evaluate the amplitude and phase characteristics of reference circuits with fairly well-known behavior. Such reference circuits include microstrip and stripline transmission lines as well as various types of resonators. By fabricating two microstrip transmission lines of different lengths on a circuit laminate with precisely known thickness, for example, and measuring the phases of the two lines with a VNA, the difference in phase values between the two transmission lines can provide insight into the Dk of the circuit material.

It sounds straightforward, but there is much to consider in this seemingly simple measurement. For one thing, most circuit laminates are anisotropic in nature, with different Dk properties along different axes of a material. A circuit material that has been characterized with a Dk value of 3.0 through the z axis of the material at a certain frequency may not exhibit the same Dk values through its x and y axes (length and width). The use of microstrip transmission lines to determine circuit material Dk via differential-phase-length method is an effective means of discovering a Dk value through the z axis of the material. But it is a measurement that must be performed with precision, with the electrical effects of a test fixture’s connectors removed from the phase values measured for the transmission lines. And this is just one of many test methods used in the RF/microwave industry to determine laminate Dk; some additional test methods provide Dk through the z axis while others help determine Dk through the x and y axes of the material. Some of these test methods are also used to measure a material’s dissipation factor (Df).

It is also important to remember that a circuit laminate’s Dk value depends on frequency, with 10 GHz often used as the test frequency for determining the Dk of a particular circuit material. If a circuit material is characterized for a given Dk value at 10 GHz using a test approach such as the microstrip differential-phase-length method, it will exhibit a different Dk value if tested with the same measurement method at a different frequency. And, unfortunately, two different Dk test methods may not even yield the same values of Dk for the same material under test even at the same test frequency!

A number of circuit material Dk test methods are based on fabricating resonators or resonant cavities on a material and evaluating the performance of the resonator. This use of perturbed resonators yields Dk values that are typically through the x and y axes of the material and can also help determine the material’s Df. One such method, for example, is the use of a split post dielectric resonator (SPDR) to measure both Dk and Df as outlined in application note 5989-5384E from Agilent Technologies (now Keysight Technologies), “Agilent Split Post Dielectric Resonators for Dielectric Measurements of Substrates.” The SPDR method, one of the approaches used by Rogers Corp. (along with the differential-phase-length method) to evaluate Dk, is a means of measuring Dk automatically with a VNA and test software at a single frequency. It provides in-plane Dk value through the length and width of a substrate but is not effective beyond a certain thickness and Dk value of material.

The different test methods employed by different circuit material suppliers may lead to some confusion for engineers comparing different circuit materials in search of a laminate with a certain Dk value for a design. It is important to note the test frequency at which the Dk has been characterized as well as which axis or axes for which the Dk value has been determined. Of course, for engineers working on the growing number of millimeter-wave circuit applications, such as for short-haul communications or automotive electronic safety systems (radar), Dk values referenced to a test frequency of 10 GHz offer little insight into how a circuit material will behave at frequencies above 30 GHz and it is at these higher frequencies that work remains to be done in characterizing circuit material Dk.

Fortunately, suppliers of commercial circuit laminates are aware of the differences among the various Dk and Df measurement approaches and are working together to try to eliminate confusion for engineers comparing laminate data sheets, especially in terms of Dk. The IPC D-24C Task Group of the noted global trade association, Association Connecting Electronics Industries, and its Institute of Printed Circuits (IPC) is attempting to better understand the impact of different test methods on determining the Dk values of high-frequency circuit laminates and is focused on broadband VNA measurements above 10 GHz for determining Dk and Df values for circuit laminates.

The task group, which includes leading materials test companies and suppliers of RF/microwave circuit laminates, is developing precise methods for testing the same circuit materials from the same production lots, not only with different test methods but at different locations along a board, to better understand all of the variables involved in determining precise, repeatable Dk and Df values for a circuit material. One of the goals of the task group is to establish reliable test methods for Dk and Df above 10 GHz as well as repeatable measurement techniques for determining precise values of material thickness, another important material parameter for circuit designers. Hopefully, this industry teamwork and the efforts of the task group members will yield circuit laminate data sheets that can be compared easily and with confidence.

Screen shot 2014-08-08 at 1.33.54 PMROG Mobile App

Download the ROG Mobile app to access Rogers’ calculators, including the popular Microwave Impedance simulation tool, literature, technical papers, and the ability to order samples of the company’s high performance printed circuit board materials.

Ask an Engineer

Do you have a design or fabrication question? Rogers Corporation’s experts are available to help. Log in to the Rogers Technology Support Hub and “Ask an Engineer” today.

 

 

Selected quotes from our first quarter earnings call.

Read the corporate financials news release: Rogers Corporation Reports First Quarter 2016 Results

In Q1 2016 Rogers achieved net sales of $160.6 million, exceeding the high-end of our guidance, which was $156 million. Year-over-year revenues were down slightly primarily due to challenges we faced in the PES business segment, which are addressed below. Sequentially, revenues grew 5% over Q4 2015, which is attributable to the recovery we are seeing across a number of our key markets.

Rogers’ ongoing commitment to driving operating efficiencies and practicing disciplined cost management helped contribute to a substantial adjusted operating margin performance of 16.9% during the quarter. Our year-over-year adjusted EBITDA percentage was consistently strong at 21.1%. Q1 adjusted earnings of $0.94 per diluted share far exceeded the high-end of our guidance.

Screen shot 2013-11-01 at 10.53.55 AMBruce Hoechner, CEO, on Growth

During Q1, we were encouraged by strengthening demand in the areas of wireless infrastructure and general industrial applications. We believe the longer-term growth prospects for these and other key markets remain positive and Rogers is in a favorable position to capitalize on the many opportunities that lie ahead.

Our roadmap has enabled us to deliver sound results and positions us for growth as market demands strengthen. Rogers is a market driven organization and we leverage our deep understanding of the link between our markets and technology to develop solutions that fill unmet needs in the marketplace. One example of this is the technology leadership position we have established in wireless telecommunications especially in 4G LTE applications. With the rapid evolution of this market, we are privileged to be working very closely with all of the major OEMs on 5G technology, the next phase of wireless connectivity. We believe our technological expertise, strong customer relationships, and differentiated products will enable us to continue to thrive in this marketplace.

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 10.34.05 AM

Bruce Hoechner, CEO, on Megatrends

The outlook and corresponding growth expectations for our key markets remain positive. For example, mobile data traffic is growing at 45% annually, yet only about 40% of the world’s population is currently covered by 4G LTE. So there remains tremendous opportunity for applications in the wireless infrastructure that will help meet global data demand.

Other areas of importance to Rogers are energy efficiency and safety, which continue to be at the forefront of our technology advancements across many segments. In particular, we expect to see solid growth for EV/HEV and automotive safety system applications going forward.

Bruce Hoechner, CEO, on Rogers’ Business Units

Advanced Connectivity Solutions delivered record quarterly net sales of $73.4 million during Q1 2016, which is an increase of 2.9% over Q1 2015. Adjusted operating margin decreased moderately as a result of unfavorable absorption.

In Q1 2016, we were encouraged by our 15% quarterly sequential revenue growth, which was driven by stronger demand for 4G LTE wireless telecom applications. Although sales of these applications were down year-over-year we believe we are seeing a return to a balanced supply chain between the board shops and the OEMs specifically in China. In addition, we are delighted with the consistently strong demand for automotive safety applications in advanced driver assistant systems (ADAS). As these features continue to expand into mass market automobile models globally, we are executing on our strategy to deliver growth in ACS.

In the near-term, we expect to maintain our leadership position in 4G LTE wireless infrastructure and automotive safety system applications. Going forward, we are well-positioned to benefit from the ongoing technology advancements in wireless telecommunications for 5G applications as well as the adoption of new technologies linked to the Internet of Things (IoT) and E-Mobility.

Elastomeric Material Solutions achieved record first quarter net sales of $46.3 million, an increase of 4% over Q1 2015. Adjusted operating margin increased slightly compared to Q1 2015. Profits were impacted primarily by inventory build that occurred in the comparative quarter of Q1 2015.

During the quarter, EMS results were driven by an increase in demand for general industrial and automotive applications, which more than offset a slight decline in sales into the portable electronics market. Sequentially, EMS net sales were up approximately 9%. Our strategy to drive growth in EMS through geographic expansion was evident during the quarter as sales in Europe increased 15% compared to Q1 2015. In addition, through our R&D efforts we are expanding our portfolio of opportunities. For example, we continue to make good progress in the penetration of our materials into backpack applications for portable electronics.

Power Electronics Solutions net sales were $35.3 million, an 8.5% decrease compared to Q1 2015, with much of the decline due to currency. PES adjusted operating margin of 6.8% was slightly down year-over-year and actions are currently underway to improve profitability in the PES business.

Overall, we saw increased demand in certain renewable energy and vehicle electrification applications during the quarter.

For the PES business, we maintain a positive outlook for the mid-to-long-term. We expect government mandates and climate change agreements to continue to drive demand for energy efficient motor drives and renewable energy applications.

 

Q1 2016 Earnings Call Full Transcript: http://rogerscorp.com/documents/7464/investor-relations/Rogers-Corporation-First-Quarter-2016-Conference-Call.pdf

Q1 2016 Financials Press Release: http://rogerscorp.com/ir/news/5460/Rogers-Corporation-Reports-First-Quarter-2016-Results.aspx

Q1 2016 Earnings Call Slides: http://rogerscorp.com/documents/7462/investor-relations/Rogers-Corporation-2016-First-Quarter-Conference-Call-Slides.pdf

 
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