There is a fundamental reengineering of the electrical services industry underway. A lot of that change is centered on technical infrastructure and “smart grids.” A smart grid adds intelligence to the electric grid in the form of sensors, smart meters, communications technology, and advanced control methods. The goal is to gather information about the behavior of consumers and suppliers in order to improve the efficiency, reliability, and sustainability of the production and distribution of electricity.

Communications networks enable a two-way flow of data. Understanding how data flows most effectively to and from a control center to devices on the grid will dictate the design parameters for the networks.

Handling Critical Data

Backhaul, high volume data flow with high bandwidth requirements, is the most critical data for power utilities. This includes customer use and billing info, as well as data flow from grid devices to the control center.

Data varies in terms of speed, bandwidth, and throughput. This results in a hybrid communications network to handle the various data flows. Regardless of the speed, backhaul needs the most security, whether wired (fiber optics) or wireless (microwave).

Per IEEE’s smart grid expert, John McDonald:

In the upper grid, closest to the control center, point-to-point technology such as fiber optic cable typically is used to connect the control center with the substations. The number of locations of transmission-level substations that need to be connected with the control center is small, but the density of each is high. High bandwidth is needed for reliability.

Further out on the system, point-to-point technology yields to point-to-multipoint systems. The further you go from the control center, the number of substations increases but the criticality of the data falls off. Typically, the largest number of substations exists as points scattered over a broad area where the network relies on licensed and unlicensed wireless spectrum to provide high throughput at relatively modest cost.

Public wi-fi networks are a good option as they can blanket wide areas cost-effectively. At the edge of the grid, unlicensed spread-spectrum technology is most effective; because these are commonly found in rural areas, little interference is expected.

Preventing Damage

RO4000Preventing thermal and voltage fluctuations is a must for these high performance communication systems. It is also critical to balance demanding performance parameters: signal integrity, dielectric constant (Dk), dissipation factor (Df), and thermal conductivity.

Rogers’ high frequency laminates and circuit materials are designed for the demands of high reliability electronics. The RO4000® Series High Frequency Circuit Materials combine high frequency performance with low cost fabrication methods. The RO3000 High Frequency Laminates (PTFE/Ceramic) deliver improved temperature stability at a fraction of the cost of traditional military-grade counterparts.


Everything changes with time and printed circuit boards are no different! Watch this video to learn about four items that contribute to the aging of high frequency PCBs and the impact on electrical performance.

Once you’ve watched the video, send us your thoughts on Twitter at @Rogers_ACM. We love hearing from you!

Banding in tonal areas is a common problem for many printers, especially in the Narrow Web industry. These bands of alternating high and low ink density are shown below. This defect has many causes, including machine vibration as well as image layout on the plate.

In order to eliminate the problem of gear banding, we recommend using SA2000 open-cell urethane cushion mounting tape. This provides unequaled energy absorption that eliminates the banding defect in most situations. Compared to closed-cell polyethylene foam mounting tapes, open-cell better prevents plate bounce and dissipates vibration resulting in noticeably more uniform tonal areas.


Still not convinced? A simple ball drop demonstration shows a dramatic difference between these two different types of mounting tapes and how they handle impact energy. This difference can improve your print quality.


Screen shot 2014-07-03 at 5.48.00 PMDid you miss John Coonrod’s presentation at IMS/MTT 2014? Now you can download the presentation from the Technology Support Hub: “The Impact of Circuit Material Properties on Microwave PCB RF Heating Patterns.” The presentation covers:

•  Basic heat flow theory application to printed circuit boards

•  Circuit material properties related to RF heating

•  RF heating differences of circuits using dissimilar materials

•  Thermal images of PCB’s during RF heating and pattern explanations

Download the presentation today.


Summer has arrived and parents are scooting their kids out the door, encouraging them to stay active.  Make sure you keep your child’s safety in mind. Here are 4 helpful tips for choosing the perfect bicycle helmet for your child:

1. Meets Safety Standards: Read the bicycle helmet safety standards of the CPSC before buying your child’s helmet. Keep in mind that bicycle helmets are not the same as skateboard helmets.

2. Perfect Fit: The most important thing about a bike helmet is its fit. If your child’s helmet is too big, it is potentially useless. A bike helmet should be worn on top of the head, covering the top of yoScreen shot 2014-06-24 at 2.32.35 PMur child’s forehead. If the helmet is too big and tips back, it will not protect their forehead. If the helmet fits, it should not slide down over the child’s eyes or move side to side.

3. Pick a Bright Color: Choose a bright or florescent color for your child’s helmet that is easy for cars and other cyclists to see on the road.

4. Add Extra Protection: After buying the perfect bike helmet for your child, it never hurts to add some extra protection for your child’s safety. Our partner, 2nd Skull® has a product called 2nd Skull® Cap which fits comfortably under all sport helmets and adds extra impact protection. The cap is made from light, soft, and breathable XRD® Impact Protection material, that also helps keep your active child cool and comfortable.

For more information, visit the 2nd Skull® web site.

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