According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Rear-end crashes kill about 1,700 people every year and injure half a million more. More than 80% of these deaths and injuries might have been mitigated had the vehicles been equipped with a collision avoidance system.”

A Con-way study of its fleet supports the NHTSA data. Con-way drivers operating truck-tractors equipped with safety systems showed a lower crash rate and a decline in risky driving behavior. The study showed a 71% decline in rear-end collisions and a 63% decline in unsafe following behaviors.

Safety concerns have led to a strong push around the world for more rapid uptake of connected car technologies, especially in the area of collision avoidance. These technologies are part of the larger class of developments referred to as intelligent transport systems (ITS), which cover everything from car navigation and parking guidance to bridge de-icing and container management.

In a new report, “The Use of Forward Collision Avoidance Systems to Prevent and Mitigate Rear-End Crashes,” the NTSB recommends that manufacturers make collision avoidance systems standard equipment in new vehicles, beginning with collision warning systems, and, once the standards are finalized, autonomous emergency braking. According to the report, “Slow and insufficient action on the part of the NHTSA to develop performance standards for these technologies and require them in passenger and commercial vehicles, as well as a lack of incentives for manufacturers, has contributed to the ongoing and unacceptable frequency of rear-end crashes.”

Intelligent Transport Systems / Connected Car Technologies

The primary goal of collision avoidance technology is to prevent crashes by detecting a conflict and alerting the driver, and, in many systems, aiding in brake application or automatic application of the brakes. As shown in Figure 1, a complete collision avoidance system includes the collision warning system (CWS), dynamic brake support (DBS), and autonomous brakes (AEB). In commercial systems, the DBS is limited or absent.

Connected_Car

Figure 1. Components of a collision avoidance system. Source: “The Use of Forward Collision Avoidance Systems to Prevent and Mitigate Rear-End Crashes.”

A typical collision avoidance system uses LIDAR, radar, or cameras to monitor the driving environment. When a conflict is detected, warning cues alert the driver. If the conflict persists, the system initiates AEB or provides additional braking force if the driver response too slowly or not strongly enough.

Standards Development

There are a lot of moving pieces in this industry (pun intended J ) So where do things stand in terms of connected vehicle standards? A variety of efforts have been in the works from a number of organizations for 10+ years. Recent developments include integrating commercial vehicles into the ITS framework and some interesting work by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

The ISO 15638 series “Telematics Applications for Regulated commercial Vehicles (TARV)” standards are based on the same secure communications that are used for cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS). This technology uses the 2G/3G mobile technology already installed for today’s fleet management systems. It also can use the 5.8 GHz technology used for electronic toll collection, and it can migrate to LTE/4G communications or use the new dedicated 5.9 GHz technology being developed for C-ITS.

Recognizing increased consumer demand for data and services in connected cars, W3C has launched a new automotive industry collaboration to bring drivers and passengers a better Web experience. The effort will focus initially on giving application vendors standard and more secure access to vehicle data.

ISO is the most active standards organization in this area. For a preview of what the new connected car driving experience will look like, they have created this fun, interactive infographic that includes references to the relevant standards:


Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 2.36.21 PM

 

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

Here at Rogers Corporation, we help power, protect, and connect our world. On the surface, it means Rogers helps our world with greater reliability, efficiency, and performance, to build a safer, cleaner, and more connected world. The materials technologies we create deliver solutions for tomorrow’s breakthroughs. These range from end market applications that include mobile internet devices, broadcast satellites, medical instruments, automotive safety sensors, and even radar.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 10.22.03 AMDig deeper, though, and you see that Rogers is taking the meaning of “power, protect, connect our world” to also include being a good global corporate citizen. Being a good global corporate citizen involves being environmentally responsible, safety and socially conscious with our employees and individuals we interact with, and being an active participant in the communities in which we operate.

This means that at Rogers there are a lot of things we’re doing behind the scenes to make the world a better place to live. These things come with every piece of material we ship, whether laminate or bondply. Because when you buy RT/duroid®, RO3000®, RO4000®, CLTE™, or any other dielectric materials from Rogers, you should have peace of mind knowing that you in turn are also being a good citizen by buying from a responsible supplier.

Here’s how ROG cares…

Environmental Protection

Environmental protection starts at Rogers with an active Pollution Prevention Plan. Our Pollution Prevention Plan drives the efficient use of materials, reduces our environmental burden, reduces facility costs, and helps create a healthier workplace for employees. Air quality, water quality, and waste management are all taken into account in our plan and we try to not just meet but exceed any regulatory requirements. Renewing our Pollution Prevention Plan annually ensures that we are always striving to create new environmental goals and further reduce our environmental impact.

All projects at Rogers start with this question: “How can we make this safer and more environmentally friendly?” When we find room for improvement, we strive to make those necessary changes.

Employee Safety

At Rogers, the health and safety of every employee is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. From the personal protective gear worn, to the volunteer safety teams that meet weekly to brainstorm safety suggestions for their floor manager, safety is clearly the priority. Employees at all levels have the authority to stop manufacturing operations immediately if they perceive the safety of employees is threatened. Sending employees home at night with the same health they arrived in the morning is of the utmost importance.

Participation in safety initiatives is part of the Must-Do Results all employees must complete. Even during meetings, safety is the first objective to be met, as a way to ensure everyone is aware and refreshed on the procedures. New and innovative ways of decreasing injury on the job are being thought of and implemented with safety suggestions. Additionally, it’s just not employees’ physical health that gets taken into account. The mental health of employees is just as important.

When it comes to safety, everyone’s voice matters and all opinions are listened to.

Social Consciousness and Community Participation

Rogers is aware of the impact that a company can have. Part of being a conscious global citizen is realizing that it is possible to make a difference. Because of this mindset, new products are being created that are halogen free. Rogers’ employees are not afraid to speak up when they see someone that needs help. Engaging employees is the number one Must-Do Result for Rogers, and as part of that goal, we set out to have socially conscious employees that are always striving to improve the lives of everyone they touch. The culture at Rogers is such that your coworkers are your family.

The family mentality is not just restricted to employees. Rogers has an extended family: the community. We reach out to the communities we’re located in by being involved with various non-profits and charities.

Some are local, like A New Leaf®, which focuses on Arizona families in need. We have worked with A New Leaf® for the last four years providing school supplies each new school year. Others span the globe, such as Feed My Starving Children®, which provides malnourished children in 70 countries with food. Some initiatives have a smaller impact, like Be a Santa to a Senior®, which brings some holiday joy to seniors in assisted living and nursing homes. Others are targeted to have a broader impact, like blood and food drives for United Way.

Global Perspective

Rogers is located around the globe, with plants in Belgium and China following the same standards. It would be easy to become complacent regarding environmental and safety issues across borders, but that’s not the case. Process Safety Management (PSM) has been implemented worldwide, despite it being only a U.S. regulation, because it provides the best overall program to ensure the safety of the plant and the employees. A new treater was installed in Suzhou, China that implements the latest technologies to reduce emissions and noise. Employees in Suzhou stay involved in the community by participating in programs aimed to educate school children. In Ghent, Belgium, Environmental, Health, and Safety (EH&S) objectives are put in place annually to monitor continuous improvements. Recycling of natural resources and supplies is an important element of reducing our environmental impact.

The various examples listed above are just a sampling of the initiatives Rogers is involved in. We are dedicated to being environmentally and socially conscious, to being a valued member of the communities in which we work, and above all, to do our best to ensure the health and safety of our employees.

When you buy from Rogers, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are buying from a supplier that makes the world truly run better by powering, protecting, and connecting our world.

We’re here to help you understand all the good work being done at Rogers. To read more about what we are doing to be a good global corporate citizen, stay tuned for more information about specific programs and initiatives.

 

When someone says “Internet of Things,” the public tends to think of interconnected Apple watches and smart thermostats…and maybe a lot of hype (see Gartner’s Hype Cycle, 2014). But the IoT is much more…it’s about intelligent, adaptive sensors, actuators, and other devices that provide a digital interface for our analog world, and connect streams of digitized data from these devices to a vast array of networks. These networks then communicate with back-end services, computing ecosystems, even social networks.

Source: NCTA

Source: NCTA

The numbers are astounding. We are rapidly moving from thousands to millions to billions of smart, connected devices that seamlessly integrate and interoperate. Vertical market opportunities that are showing early growth are consumer goods, eHealth, transportation, energy, and industrial automation.

The beauty of this hot new market opportunity is that the IoT takes advantage of existing global telecom systems and data protocols (e.g. TCP/IP, wi-fi) to provide limitless scalability.

Reducing Power Consumption

But the IoT isn’t without its’ challenges. Power, for instance. Devices need to become more energy efficient as many will run on batteries. Joe Weinman, Chair of IEEE’s Intercloud Testbed Initiative states that battery power needs to be either extended or complemented, possibly by generating power through piezoelectricity based on microscopic vibrations in the environment. In addition, the networks need efficient, low-latency protocols as architectures that support more ubiquitous networking, such as mesh technologies. Nanotechnology also plays a role as new technologies deliver increased efficiencies in price/power/performance in IoT infrastructures.

Network Standards

Given the tremendous number of devices, does the IoT need its own network? Industry experts are debating the issue. Many say that the three big wireless technologies – cellular wide area networks, wi-fi local area networks, and Bluetooth smart personal area networks – will suffice. According to Forbes:

While existing infrastructure is sufficient in some nations, like South Korea, where high-speed broadband access is the norm across the country, high-speed access is not yet pervasive outside major U.S. cities. Although ranked 10th in the world for high Internet speeds, “we aren’t even at the point where every city has good Internet,” IEEE’s George K. Thiruvathukal points out. Most U.S. cities lack fiber-optic Internet access and, average connection speeds overall in the U.S. are 10 MB per second (Mbps). South Korea’s average connection speed is 21.9 Mbps.

The major telecom operators focus their services on cell-based networks to facilitate high data rate applications. But those are too expensive and demand too much energy for the majority of IoT applications. Most IoT devices (also known as M2M or machine-to-machine devices) aren’t bandwidth hogs; they only need enough capacity to periodically send small amounts of data. LPWAN (low power, wide area networks) are “unapologetically slow.” These networks are based on a new protocol that taps the unlicensed wireless spectrum of the industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) radio band (such as the 900MHz band in the U.S.). Speeds are measured in the hundreds of bits per second or less and they can coexist with cellular nets. They can also be used as backup for cellular networks to keep devices connected when broadband just won’t reach.

According to Stephen Lawson, writing in Computerworld, “One advantage of the low data rates on LPWANs is that they don’t require as many base stations as cell networks do. With that factor and unlicensed frequencies, the cost of connecting can be dramatically lower. Enterprises buying connectivity for many devices may pay as little as $1 per connection, per year.”

These slower data rates also have implications for chip technology. Soon we won’t need vast amounts of calculations per second. Sending a temperature measurement once a second or once a minute from a remote sensor requires far fewer instructions than rendering a complicated, 3D CAD drawing.

LPWAN provider Senet uses an RF-based solution to transmit and receive data to and from sensors and controllers over long distances at very low costs. “We can connect sensors over distances of more than 100 km (62 miles) in favorable environments with sensors that can be powered over 10 years with AA batteries. In addition, it’s highly secure, using AES128 keys, making communication tampering and eavesdropping virtually impossible,” said George Dannecker, CEO, Senet.

IoT Challenges

Cliff Ortmeyer, Newark element14, provides an overview in EBN of the biggest IoT adoption issues that need to be resolved. For instance, several competing IoT architecture standards have emerged, including Google’s Physical Web, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), the Open Interconnected Consortium, and Thread, a new IP-based wireless networking protocol pulling together support from Google, Samsung, ARM, and Freescale Semiconductor.

Every device that connects to the Internet requires its own unique numerical label – an IP address. As it stands, the vast majority of these IP addresses run on a fourth generation version of the Internet Protocol known as IPv4. Unfortunately, that limits us to about 4.3 billion unique addresses. We’re already way over capacity and using workarounds like Network Address Translation (NAT) to provide the illusion of more space. IPv6 is a 128-bit protocol that offers 340 unidecillion addresses (34 plus 37 zero’s)!

In the meantime, developers are forging ahead, developing new technologies that will help the IoT become a self-sustaining network of everyday objects that provides a higher collective value than the individual objects.

•       High frequency circuit materials deliver the performance needed by M2M sensors, wireless base stations, satellite antennas, and network servers and storage.

•       High temperature silicone materials are ideal as gaskets and seals, cushions, and thermal and acoustic insulation in demanding conditions.

•       Laminated multilayer busbars provide efficient and compact connections for propulsion, auxiliary, and other IGBT based converters in transportation systems.

 

Same great service, great new name! Rogers Corp.’s Advanced Circuit Materials division has changed its name to Advanced Connectivity Solutions (ACS). This name change reflects expansion of potential areas of business beyond existing material sets into new areas of RF/Microwave and Digital connectivity.

Rogers_ACS

According to Jeff Grudzien, Vice President of ACS, “Looking at our product innovation and technical support strengths in the microwave and digital communication industries, you can see how our business unit name could start to box us in from reaching our full potential. Although the name ‘Advanced Circuit Materials Division’ served us very well to get us to this point, it was time to change the name to one that helps us pave the way for future growth and expansion. As a result, I’m happy to announce that we are changing our division name to ’Advanced Connectivity Solutions.’”

The recent acquisition of Arlon, LLC in January 2015 was a major step in this evolution. Through this acquisition, Rogers is able to bring a broader portfolio of problem solving solutions to its global customers. In addition to popular printed circuit materials such as AD300C™, and CLTE™ laminates, the Rogers portfolio now also includes the 91ML and 92ML Thermally Conductive Substrates for effective heat dissipation in mobile internet devices and consumer appliances.

Read the news release: Rogers Corporation’s Advanced Circuit Materials Division Changes Its Name to Advanced Connectivity Solutions

 

 

 

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

Power amplifier design at RF/microwave frequencies can be aided by a wise choice of active devices, such as discrete transistors or monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs). But don’t overlook the importance of the printed-circuit-board (PCB) material when planning for a solid-state power amplifier (PA) circuit. The circuit material can help or hurt a PA design, and knowing what is important in a PCB material intended for a PA is the first step in selecting a circuit material that enhances the PA’s performance. Plain and simple, a suitable PA circuit material should support excellent RF/microwave performance, be consistent over time and temperature, and be capable of conducting heat away from a PA’s active devices.

PrintIdeally, a circuit material for a solid-state PA should be a foundation for transmission lines that form the impedances needed to match to the input and output ports of those active devices and optimize the gain and power achieved for high-frequency signals into and out of those devices. A circuit material’s dielectric constant (Dk) is usually a good starting point for PA designers in search of a suitable PCB material for their PA design, not so much for a particular Dk value but for a material with minimal variations in Dk value, across the material and across a required temperature range. PA circuits generate power but they are not 100% efficient, so they generate heat as well, and those changing temperatures can impact a circuit material’s Dk value and consequently, the impedances of the matching circuits to and from a PA’s active devices.

For stable transmission-line impedances in PA circuits, PA designers have traditionally sought PCB materials not so much with a particular Dk value, but with a Dk value that is tightly controlled across the material. Commercial circuit materials can exhibit different ranges in their Dk variations, but a good target Dk deviation specification is ±1.5% or better at a desired Dk value. This consistency will help to achieve the consistent impedance values needed to extract the highest levels of output power from an active device or devices on a PCB-mounted PA.

Perhaps even more important than Dk consistency, however, is the consistency of a PCB material’s thickness, or its substrate thickness tolerance. As with variations in Dk, variations in a PCB material’s thickness will result in variations in transmission-line impedance. This will mean inconsistent PA performance that is not as predicted by design calculations or by a commercial computer-aided-engineering (CAE) design program. Specifying a PCB material with consistent thickness tolerance will enable tight control of the impedance of the transmission lines and other circuit structures fabricated on the material, and consistent and predictable performance for a PA built on that circuit material. Although the thickness tolerances for commercial PCB materials varies widely across the industry, a value of ±10% or better can help maintain consistent impedance in a PA’s transmission lines and matching circuits.

The thickness of the PCB material, whether it is a relatively thin or a relatively thick circuit material, can also play a part in maintaining consistent impedance in a PA’s matching circuits. Variations in copper conductor width and thickness, for example, translate into variations in impedance. Those conductor width and thickness variations have more of an effect on impedance for thinner circuit materials than for thicker circuit materials. But thicker PCB materials can impact a PA design in other ways, since the thicker materials may suffer greater radiation loss than thinner circuit materials.

For both low-noise amplifiers (LNAs) and PAs, it helps to fabricate the circuits on PCB materials with low insertion loss. A PCB’s insertion loss can have a number of different loss components, such as conductor loss, dielectric loss, radiation loss, and leakage loss. Conductor losses, for example, are a larger part of the total PCB insertion loss in thinner circuits while dielectric losses are more of a dominant part of the total PCB insertion loss in thicker circuits.

The dielectric losses of thicker PCB materials can be minimized by selecting thicker circuit materials with lower dissipation factors.

Other circuit parameters, such as the surface roughness of the copper conductor, can contribute to higher losses from rougher surfaces. Copper surface roughness will have a greater impact on insertion loss for thinner circuit materials than for thicker circuit materials. Conductor losses from this source can be minimized by using a PCB material with a smoother copper conductor. The search for a low-loss circuit material for a PA (or an LNA) involves weighing the impacts of such parameters as conductor thickness and dielectric thickness on the different loss components and achieving a workable balance with acceptable loss performance.

Of course, given their tendencies to generate heat, solid-state PAs should be constructed on circuit materials with suitable thermal characteristics, including good thermal conductivity, coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), and temperature coefficient of dielectric constant (TCDk). High thermal conductivity will support the flow of heat away from a PAs active devices and towards a heat sink or other heat-dissipating structure. Good TCDk will minimize variations in Dk (and transmission-line impedance) with temperature, which can degrade a PA’s performance as it heats up at higher power levels.

Considering these various material characteristics, what is a commercial material that can meet the different requirements for a PA? RO4835™ circuit material from Rogers Corp. has a Dk of 3.48 in the z-axis (thickness) at 10 GHz. The Dk is maintained to a tolerance of ±0.05 across the material for consistent transmission-line impedance. RO4835 laminates maintain stable Dk with temperature, with a TCDk of +50 ppm/°C in the z-axis (thickness) over a wide range of processing temperatures from -100 to +250°C. The circuit material has high thermal conductivity (0.66 W/m/K) and can handle and help dissipate the heat produced by a solid-state PA’s active devices. RO4835 laminate has low dielectric loss, with dissipation factor of 0.0037 in the z axis at 10 GHz to minimize the generation of heat from active devices subject to high material loss. The material is RoHS compliant and compatible with standard FR-4 circuit manufacturing processes.

Screen shot 2014-08-08 at 1.33.54 PMBut this is just one example of a PCB material that is formulated for successful high-frequency PA applications. A short list of guidelines that can be applied when comparing different candidate materials would include finding a circuit material with tight substrate thickness tolerance, tight Dk tolerance, low insertion loss (low dissipation factor), high thermal conductivity, and low TCDk. Keeping a tight tolerance of the copper conductor plating thickness and a tight copper conductor width tolerance can help control conductor losses and conductor-based impedance variations, respectively, for better PA performance.

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