Selected quotes from our recent earnings call. Read the corporate financials news release: Rogers Corporation Reports First Quarter 2019 Results.

In the first quarter of 2019, Rogers achieved all-time record quarterly net sales of $240 million, an increase of 8% over Q4 2018.

Bruce Hoechner, CEO, on Growth Drivers

Advanced Connectivity

In our Advanced Connectivity markets, we are optimistic about the increasing demand for 5G wireless infrastructure applications that is driving growth in advanced connectivity. Our newly developed products, specifically engineered to enhance 5G performance particularly in massive MIMO antenna systems have received an enthusiastic response from our customers. Market indicators support the previously mentioned mobile experts’ view that 5G base station shipments in 2019 are expected to be strong and could exceed 200,000 units.

Advanced Mobility

Adding to the good news for Rogers regarding the strong demand growth in our advanced connectivity markets, the growth outlook remains robust for advanced mobility applications.  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 77 gigahertz ADAS radar as well as advanced performance silicon nitride substrates for EV power modules. As the auto industry moves towards EV/HEV and x-by-wire systems, the opportunity for Rogers expands through both increased market penetration and higher content per vehicle. Looking at the ADAS market, automakers have essentially worked through the new emissions protocol in Europe. Demand is being somewhat tempered by a weakening global automotive market. However, market penetration of ADAS systems is still progressing well.

Bruce Hoechner, CEO, on Rogers’ Business Units

Advanced Connectivity Solutions (ACS) net sales were $81 million, an increase of 11% over Q4 2018. These results were driven primarily by demand for 5G and 4G wireless infrastructure and ADAS applications. As mentioned in the previous slides, we anticipate substantial growth in 5G revenues as China deployments ramped throughout 2019 and into 2020. In addition, we expect 4G to maintain its current pace through 2019. We also expect to see steady growth in demand for ADAS applications for the balance of the year. Over the last 2 years, we have significantly increased ACS capacity positioning us well to meet current demand. In addition, we have invested in multi-site qualifications and addressed several production bottlenecks to improve efficiency in the ACS operations. Given the optimistic outlook in ACS, we are adding substantially more capacity in 2019 and 2020 to meet this projected demand for advanced materials in our key market of 5G and ADAS.

Power Electronics Solutions (PES) achieved net sales of $60 million in Q1 2019, an increase of 5% over Q4 2018. The sequential improvement in PES results was due to demand for applications for EV/HEV and renewable energy. As previously discussed, market tailwinds in EV/HEV are favorable. The PES business has experienced excellent market acceptance and tremendous growth for its new generation silicon nitride materials for wide-band gap semiconductor packaging. As I mentioned, we have comprehensive actions ongoing to address our commercial and operational issues and we are continuing to execute on our capacity expansion projects to position the PES business to take advantage of these great market opportunities.

Elastomeric Material Solutions (EMS) delivered net sales of $93 million, an increase of 5% over Q4 2018. Results were driven by double-digit growth in EV/HEV and mass transit applications. The business also benefited from solid sequential growth in the general industrial market. EMS continues to gain significant design wins in battery pad applications and is expanding its product portfolio. One example of this is the new PORON® EVextend material, which enables enhanced lithium-ion battery life. For the balance of the year, we expect solid growth in general industrial and portable electronics with higher growth in EV/HEV applications as this market expands globally.

Q1 2019 Financial Press Release

Q1 2019 Earnings Call Slides

 

Celebrating Earth Day at Rogers

For Rogers, green is more than just the color of our logo; it’s a way of life.  That is why we invited all Rogers Corporation employees to participate in the second annual Share Your Acts of Rogers Green campaign for all of #EarthMonth.

By encouraging colleagues to share images of how they help and enjoy the Earth, we increase conversation and awareness on the importance of protecting and appreciating nature, every day. So far, employees have shared many images, including some of water management efforts, protected species and everyday acts of being green.

Water Management

Protected Species

Everyday Acts of Green

It’s Not Easy Being Green, But It is Worth It!

As a company, we are proud of our commitment to sustainability, which drives us to meet and exceed standards in the communities where we work.

For example, our air oxidizers are capable of cleaning up to 99.5% of contaminants in the air from our manufacturing processes before it is released into the atmosphere. Another example is the sorting areas at each of our manufacturing facilities. If scrap cannot be repurposed or reused, our teams can easily sort it for recycling. Our Roosevelt, AZ location recycled nearly 700,000 pounds of metal material in 2017.

Although celebrations specifically for #EarthDay2019 are exciting, the spirit of being green will live on at Rogers long after April 22.  Thank you to all of our employees for celebrating by sharing photos and diligently protecting Mother Nature, at work and at home.

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Why Your Thermal Interface Material May Not Be as Conductive as You Think: Exploring Thermal Conductivity & Measurement Techniques

If you’re an electronics designer or assembler addressing thermal management issues, safety is likely your number one concern. When selecting a thermal interface material (TIM) to dissipate heat, you probably started by comparing the thermal conductivity (K) of your options. But did you know that manufacturers’ advertised values of thermal conductivity can be widely inaccurate?

We found that out for ourselves when evaluating a range of TIM samples from various manufacturers. In our own tests, we found significant discrepancies in the thermal conductivity of the TIM samples that we tested versus the values stated in their literature. It turns out that the manner in which the materials are evaluated can make a big difference in the resulting conductivity values. The potential impact on end use applications could be a real safety hazard.

Before we drill down on the details, let’s quickly review some basics.

What Kind of Thermal Interface Materials (TIM) Are We Talking About?

Thermal Interface Materials, or TIM, are any materials that can be inserted between two parts in order to enhance the thermal coupling between the two components, typically for heat dissipation. There are many kinds of TIM, including thermal grease, thermal adhesive, thermal gap fillers, thermally-conductive pads, thermal tape, phase-change materials and metal TIMs. 

For our testing, we evaluated thermal conductivity pads similar to, and including, Rogers’ own ARLON Secure® Silicone Thermal Transfer Adhesives, composites of silicone polymer and functional additives formulated to deliver a unique set of thermal, physical and electrical properties.

What is Thermal Conductivity? 

Thermal conductivity is the most recognized and referenced thermal property of a TIM material because it expresses the intrinsic ability of a material to conduct heat. As a bulk or absolute property, thermal conductivity (K) doesn’t change with the size or shape of the material. Thermal conductivity is measured in watts per meter-kelvin (W/(m·K)) and is defined as the time rate of heat flow, under steady state conditions, through unit area, per unit temperature gradient in the direction perpendicular to the area.

The K of materials plays a significant role in the cooling of electronics equipment. From the die where the heat is generated to the cabinet where the electronics are housed, conduction heat transfer and, subsequently, thermal conductivity are the integral components of the overall thermal management process. The question of accuracy of thermal conductivity measurement, however, can be an issue as you will see as we continue our exploration.

Measuring Thermal Conductivity of TIM Materials

The industry standard for characterizing thermal interface materials is ASTM D5470 (updated to ASTM D5470-12 in 2012), which defines devices that use two metal bars (meter bars) and are placed between a heater and colder source separated by the specimen to be tested. The test method permits latitude in the basic design while defining the smoothness of the meter bars in an attempt to minimize interfacial impedance between the meter and the specimen, and improve machine-to-machine agreement. Limitations and modifications to ASTM D5470 have emerged to improve the accuracy of TIM measurements and to increase measurement precision.

In our lab, we tested thermal conductivity using two state-of-the-art processes: C-Therm Tci and a TIM tester. Both testing methods are influenced by testing parameter of pressure and thickness.

  • C-Therm employs the most up-to-date technique of Modified Transient Plane Source. The test is accurate, fast and easy. 
  • The TIM Tester process is well-defined and well-suited for measurement of thermal interface materials used in electronic packaging. It measures bulk thermal conductivity in materials having moderate-to-high thermal conductivity.

Our Surprise Findings

We tested 5 competitive high thermal conductivity pads. Our results yielded thermal conductivities ranging from 44% to 74% lower than the thermal conductivity reported on manufacturers’ data sheets. 

We have no way of knowing whether the differences were due to the latitude allowed in the ASTM standard, or variations in vendor equipment. We do know that test results for thermal conductivity varied widely. Also disconcerting, vendors of the materials we evaluated did not typically cite what method they used to measure conductivity, so this leaves designers without any information to help determine accuracy or to compare against other materials.

What Does This Mean for You?

We know that safety is a major concern for designers. At Rogers Corporation, we are developing and evaluating our testing processes to ensure you the highest accuracy of the data we publish. Based on our testing and evaluation, we see that is not always the case in the market. We encourage designers to ask tough questions, understand testing techniques and work with suppliers they feel they can rely on for accurate and consistent data to back up their product claims.

Next in our Series…

In our next blog in this series, we will look at two thermal properties that can be better “real-world” measures for designers than thermal conductivity when comparing TIMs for a specific application. Subscribe to Rogers’ blog to make sure you don’t miss future topics of interest.

To learn more aboutARLON Secure Silicone Thermal Transfer Adhesives, visit our website.

 

Mission Accomplished: Mars Opportunity Rover

In January of 2004, the Mars Opportunity Rover began its mission in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars after a 7 month long journey from its launch in Florida. Originally intended to collect data for 90 days and travel only 1000 meters, Opportunity persevered, completing its mission 15 years and 45 kilometers later. The Opportunity overcame obstacles and collected data for nearly 60 times the original length of time planned, pioneering Mars exploration and providing immense scientific value.

Mission-Critical Laminates and Mars Rover

Rover Image Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

SpaceX Falcon 9/ Beresheet Blasts Off

Conversely, the Beresheet SpaceIL Lunar Lander is at the beginning of its voyage. As the first privately owned mission to the moon, this ambitious effort launched aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket is expected to land in April.  Once on the moon, the Beresheet is expected to function for 3 days before the solar panels overheat, providing a narrow window for data collection and transmission.

Engineering for Successful Space Missions

The enduring trek of The Mars Rover That Could and the uncertain future of The Adventures of Beresheet are both inspiring feats of space engineering. In these types of applications, mission-critical dependability is key. Design engineers need to know that their spacecraft is going to perform as intended. At Rogers, we are proud to provide high reliability materials that ensure successful missions. For over 40 years, our advanced circuit materials have been in nearly every US space mission.

Advanced Laminates for Mission-Critical Applications

High-frequency specialty laminates enable radars and antennas on space rockets, probes, landers and rovers. These radars and antennas serve important functions like communicating maneuver commands with the vehicle and transmitting collected data. When these materials function properly and reliably, they collect data beyond expectations. For example, the Voyager spacecraft, launched in 1977, were designed to conduct studies of Jupiter and Saturn. Now, they have traveled outside of the solar system and still transmit information to this day.

Successfully Exploring the Final Frontier

Sending something into orbit, space exploration or to land on a planet or moon is a project of great magnitude both in preparation and cost. There is no room for error as repairs are either costly or impossible. Rogers’ Advanced Connectivity Solutions proudly enables these pioneering journeys as we explore the final frontier with mission-critical reliability. Because, when it comes to these missions, we have a Yoda mentality: “Do or do not, there is no try.”

 

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

In Q4 2018, Rogers reached net sales of $222.94 million, near the top of our previously announced guidance and an increase of 7% over Q4 2017. For the year, the company achieved net sales of $879 million, an increase of 7% over 2017.

Bruce Hoechner, CEO, on Growth Drivers

We accelerated capacity expansion projects as market indicators provided greater clarity on the timing and the increasing size of opportunities in advanced mobility and advanced connectivity applications.

Advanced Connectivity

As part of the transition to 5G, in 2018, we experienced somewhat weaker demand for 4G/LTE wireless applications. However, there is encouraging news about the wireless infrastructure market moving forward. For example, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology assigned 5G spectrums to China’s three telecom operators during December. In early January, the Ministry issued temporary 5G licenses paving the way for larger 5G networks and hotspots to be put in place in some cities. According to industry consultancy, Mobile Experts, the number of base stations shipments will be more than 200,000 which we expect to be weighted toward the second half of the year.

Advanced Mobility

The growth outlook for Rogers in advanced mobility, which includes EV/HEV, vehicle electrification, and ADAS applications, remains robust. Looking at e-Mobility, as the auto industry moves toward higher levels of electrification, the opportunity for Rogers expands through both increased market penetration and higher content. During 2018, a number of major automotive manufacturers accelerated their plans for a substantial transition from internal combustion engine vehicles to EV/HEV models over the next three years to five years. This shift is driving a compounded annual growth rate of 28% for EV/HEV through to 2023.

Automotive OEMs continue to increase the electrification of systems in internal combustion engines such as power steering, air conditioning and stop/start. This transition is providing additional growth opportunities for Rogers.

Additionally, through 2023, industry experts are projecting a compounded annual growth rate in the 20% range for automotive radar units across a variety of radar sensors. Rogers’ portfolio spans the full range of requirements for short, mid, and long-range radar sensors for ADAS applications.

Bruce Hoechner, CEO, on Rogers’ Business Units

Advanced Connectivity Solutions’ 2018 net sales of $294 million were down 2% compared to 2017. Demand in aerospace and defense and ADAS was offset by weaker demand for 4G/LTE applications.

As we look ahead, we are encouraged by the imminent 5G telecom deployments which utilize three to five times more Rogers’ material compared to traditional 4G/LTE designs. This greater content is due primarily to the adoption of advanced MIMO 5G antenna systems which require high performance, low loss circuit materials, in addition to greater content requirements in base station power amps. And in ADAS, we expect to maintain a steady growth as safety features continue their expansion into more mass market models.

Elastomeric Material Solutions achieved net sales of $341 million, reflecting organic growth of 5%. Including Griswold; EMS net sales increased 9% over full year 2017. Results for the year were driven by double-digit growth in applications for portable electronics as well as automotive applications, particularly EV/HEV battery pads and battery pack sealing systems. An excellent example of EMS innovation in this area is our newly launched PORON EVExtend materials, which provide lithium-ion battery designers with new ways to optimize the performance of their battery packs. PORON EVExtend helps ensure that the lithium-ion cells perform consistently over an extended period of time.

Power Electronics Solutions achieved all-time record sales of $223 million, an increase of 21% over full year 2017. This outstanding organic growth was driven primarily by EV/HEV and vehicle electrification applications, where revenues grew more than 50%. As automotive propulsion technologies advance toward greater degrees of electrification, Rogers is positioned to grow its content. For example, a pure electric vehicle can have 10 times more Rogers’ material content than an internal combustion engine vehicle with electrified systems such as power steering and stop/start capabilities.

Q4 2018 and Full Year Earnings Call Transcript

Q4 2018 and Full Year Results Press Release

Q4 2018 and Full Year Earnings Call Slides