Commuters in major metro areas choose trains as their mode of transportation because trains allow them to enjoy a safe, comfortable ride and avoid driving through rain or snow. When train cars lose power, though, it causes delays for the affected train and others caught behind it on the track. Even worse, trains without electrical power lose their ability to regulate the internal temperature of the cars. During the summer, temperatures inside the car can reach 38° C (100° F) if not cooled. In the winter, lost power can result in passengers facing below freezing temperatures inside the cars.

rail_app_noteA commuter train operator was facing this challenge on a regular basis because their electrical panel, located on the external surface of the car, was failing. The extruded rubber gasket that filled the space between the electrical panel and the car was not holding up to the harsh weather conditions. It hardened over time, producing gaps where wind, rain, and sun damaged the electrical panel. The result was loss of power.

Rogers’ BISCO® BF-1005 extra soft silicone foam material provided the right solution.

The compression set resistance of the BF-1005 silicone material made it the right material to fill the spaces created by the inadequate seal of the extruded rubber gasket. In addition, the softness of BF-1005 silicone material allowed it to easily fill the difficult geometries needed to maintain a good seal and keep the elements from shorting out the electrical panel. What’s more, the commuter train operator did not need to waste man-hours removing the old, dried out rubber gasket before installing the BF-1005 silicone foam. A Rogers Preferred Converter provided a precut peel and stick ready-to-use solution, which saved the customer time and money on installation. BF-1005 silicone foam meets ASTM E162, ASTM E662 and SMP 800C standards for flame, smoke, and toxicity requirements on trains.

Rogers’ BISCO® product family offers a wide range of multi-functional silicone-based elastomeric foam and solid materials for use in rail interior applications such as seals, gaskets, floor isolation pads, thermal insulation, sound barriers and anti-squeak / rattle pads. These materials are offered in continuous sheet form, enabling ease of fabrication whether slitting, die-cutting, or laminating with adhesive. In addition, Rogers offers a highly durable silicone seat cushion foam, supplied in bun stock form or as a fabricated cushion shaped to the customer’s design requirements.

innotrans_logoOur high temperature BISCO® silicone materials for rail will be on display at InnoTrans 2016, the place to be for anything and everything rail and public transportation: railway technology, infrastructure, public transport, interiors, and tunnel construction.

InnoTrans 2016
September 20-23, 2016
Messe Berlin
Hall 3.1 / 513

At the show, we’ll be featuring the BISCO MF1® 35 (35 IFD) and MF1® 55 (55 IFD), high quality silicone foam materials designed for seat cushion applications. They feature exceptional flame, smoke, toxicity (FST) characteristics, superior weather and UV-resistance, and low compression set to ensure safety, long-term comfort, and durability. They are available in slab form or may be fabricated to customer specifications.

Engineers and designers can quickly find the material that’s right for their application by downloading the BISCO Silicones Rail Interior Solutions Application and Material Guide.


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

High-frequency filters are increasingly essential components within wireless products, especially as those wireless products continue to compete for limited frequency spectrum. Various types of RF/microwave filters help wireless radio transmitters and receivers operate with their proper signals while shielding them interference caused by out-of-band signals. Printed-circuit filters can be designed with various responses, including bandpass, bandstop, lowpass, or highpass filters, and from a number of different transmission-line technologies, including microstrip, stripline, or coplanar-waveguide (CPW) transmission lines. For the best results, filter designers should start with a printed-circuit-board (PCB) material having optimum characteristics for RF/microwave filters. The choice of circuit material can not only impact a filter’s performance, but even the size of a printed circuit filter.

The job of a filter is to shape part of the frequency spectrum, ideally stopping unwanted signals while passing desired signals with minimal loss or attenuation. Each filter type performs these functions by means of different spectral regions: stopbands, passbands, and transitions between a stopband and a passband. For example, a lowpass filter has one passband in the lower-frequency portion of its frequency range and one stopband in the upper-frequency part of its frequency range, with one transition region between them. A highpass filter is the opposite, with one passband in the upper-frequency part of its range and one stopband in the lower-frequency part of its range, and one transition region between them. A bandpass filter has a passband, lower and upper stopbands, and two transition regions. A band-reject filter can be thought of as the opposite, with a stopband with transition regions linking upper and lower passbands.

Different transfer functions describe a filter’s transition regions. A Chebyshev filter, for example, is characterized as having an abrupt transition from the passband to the stopband; i.e., very little spectrum is required to make the change from the lowest signal loss to the highest signal attenuation. A filter with a Butterworth or binomial function, on the other hand, makes a more gradual transition from the passband to the stopband. It requires a greater amount of frequency spectrum to make the transition from filter regions, but it can also achieve a passband with low loss and very little ripple compared to a Chebyshev filter with its shorter transitions.

A filter’s frequency response is really a composite of the responses of its different spectral regions, with the transfer function having a major influence on the loss characteristics of the passband and stopband regions. A Chebyshev filter is capable of a quick, clean transition from a passband to a stopband, but at the cost of some amplitude variations or ripple in the passband insertion-loss response. A Butterworth filter can achieve a much flatter passband insertion-loss response, but less attenuation of signals at frequencies closer to the passband than a Chebyshev filter.

A printed circuit filter designer is faced with achieving a set of responses for a desired frequency range but also with trying to minimize transmission and reflection losses at the filter’s input and output ports by means of impedance matched junctions. The input and output ports are often coaxial connectors and most typically at a characteristic impedance of 50 Ω. What difference can the choice of circuit material have on a particular filter design and why use one type of circuit material rather than another?

When sorting through PCB material options prior to a design, a filter designer usually starts with dielectric constant (Dk) as a key parameter. PCB filters are typically formed of resonant circuit structures, such as the quarter-wave or half-wavelength resonators used in edge-coupled microstrip bandpass filters. The Dk of the dielectric material will determine the dimensions of the transmission lines required for specific resonator characteristics and frequencies. Circuit materials with higher Dk values will yield smaller filter resonator structures for a given wavelength and frequency, when miniaturization of a filter design is an important goal. In any case, for predictable, repeatable filter and resonator performance, the Dk of a circuit material choice should be as consistent as possible, held to the tightest tolerance possible.

What many filter designers may not realize when choosing a circuit material, however, is the anisotropy of the material—that is, the Dk value is different in the x-y plane of the material than in the z-axis (the thickness) which is the material Dk value often used as a starting point for filter computer simulations. Due to such anisotropic behavior, for proper modeling and design of a microstrip edge-coupled bandpass filter, the coupled fields in the x-y plane should be calculated as a function of the x-y Dk value. Alternatively, a filter designer may select a circuit material with more isotropic behavior to simplify the design process.

In general, circuit materials with lower Dk values are more isotropic than circuit materials with higher Dk values. To compare two commercial circuit materials, RO3003™and RO3010™circuit materials from Rogers Corp. exhibit low and high Dk values, respectively, with different degrees of isotropy. RO3003 laminate has a z-axis Dk value of 3.00 (with a tolerance of ±0.04 in the z-axis) and is nearly a true isotropic material, with similarly low Dk value in the x-y plane. Designing filters with coupled resonant structures, such as microstrip edge-coupled bandpass filters, is straightforward often with first-pass design success when using commercial computer-aided-engineering (CAE) circuit simulators.

However, for designing much smaller filter circuits for a given frequency, RO3010 circuit material has a much higher z-axis Dk value of 10.2 (with tolerance of ±0.30 in the z-axis). It is much more anisotropic than RO3003 material, with Dk value in the x-y plane that is much closer to the 3.0 range of the RO3003 material. This means that filter design strategies and computer simulations must account for the significant difference of Dk values in the x-y plane and the z-axis of RO3010 material. But the higher Dk value of this material significantly increases the coupling between resonant structures, which can help improve the overall performance of a filter design while miniaturizing its dimensions.

rog-mobileNote: Those interested in learning more about how circuit material anisotropy can impact filter design see the ROG Blog, “Substrate Anisotropy Affects Filter Designs,” which also examines the effects of moisture absorption on circuit material Dk.

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 order samples of the company’s high performance printed circuit board materials.

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Selected quotes from our second quarter earnings call.

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

Screen shot 2013-11-01 at 10.53.55 AMIn Q2 2016, Rogers achieved net sales of $157.5 million, in line with our stated guidance. Net sales declined 3.4% in comparison to Q2 2015. We experienced slower than expected growth in certain key markets, but we maintain confidence in the long-term growth prospects for our core markets and will continue to execute our growth strategy to capitalize on the opportunities ahead.

Bruce Hoechner, CEO, on Growth

Our roadmap has enabled us to deliver solid results and positions us for the projected growth in our megatrend markets. 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. We recently hosted a day-long innovation event where we brought together Rogers engineers and a key customer’s top technologists. These events deepen our customer partnerships so together we can develop a roadmap to meet their future technology needs.

In the area of innovation leadership, we are very pleased with the advancements we are making in our innovation centers, as well as in the operating units where our R&D teams are focused on next-generation solutions. Our approach to partnering with local universities in the US and Asia is yielding results. We are filing for new patents in record numbers and we are evaluating a robust pipeline of groundbreaking new technology platforms at our innovation centers.

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 10.34.05 AM

Bruce Hoechner, CEO, on Megatrends

The longer-term outlook and corresponding growth expectations for our key markets remains positive over the next two to three years. For example, consumer demand for mobile video content is expected to drive a 45% compounded annual growth rate in mobile data traffic over the next five years. To support that explosive growth, the FCC recently voted to open high-frequency spectrum for 5G networks in the US. Such actions bode well for Rogers since our core strengths in advanced antenna technology, power amps, and other wireless telecommunication components should enable us to capitalize on that growth.

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

We are confident that the strategic investments we are making will drive greater agility and flexibility in the face of market uncertainty.

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 12.31.34 PM
Bruce Hoechner, CEO, on Rogers’ Business Units

Advanced Connectivity Solutions delivered net sales of $67.2 million during Q2 2016, which is an increase of 1.2% over Q2 2015. Results were driven by demand in applications for high-frequency circuit materials used in automotive safety and other high-reliability applications.

Demand for wireless telecom applications was up slightly, but lower than expected, due to delayed spending in both India and China, which we expect to occur now in 2017. This resulted in a gradual softening of demand as we moved through the quarter. Growth in ACS was partially offset by lower demand in satellite TV dish applications.

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, as well as in automotive safety systems where manufacturers are offering more of these features across luxury and mass-market models. We are well positioned to capitalize on the growth we expect to see with the buildout of the 5G networks.

Elastomeric Material Solutions achieved second-quarter net sales of $45.8 million, a decrease of 2.6% from Q2 2015. During the quarter, EMS results were driven by an increase in demand for portable electronics and automotive applications. This demand was offset by lower demand for general industrial, mass transit, and consumer applications. Softness in the general industrial market was a result of reduced capital expenditures in North America, due in part to the decline in energy-related infrastructure investments. EMS’s consumer category was affected by lower demand for protective footwear, due to slowdowns in the mining and construction categories.

Our strategy to drive growth in EMS through geographic expansion was evident during the quarter, as the European region delivered another quarter of double-digit revenue growth. In addition, our R&D efforts are helping us to expand our portfolio of opportunities. For example, we are pleased with the traction we are gaining for our new back pad materials, which eliminate the ripple effect that can appear on the screens of certain portable electronic devices.

Power Electronics Solutions net sales were $38.4 million, essentially flat compared to Q2 2015. Overall, we saw increased demand for energy-efficient motor drives, due to strong results at one of our key customers. In addition, certain renewable energy and vehicle electrification applications also posted solid growth during the quarter. Demand for EV/HEV was essentially flat, due to a slower than expected ramp-up rate at a key customer in Q2, but we expect to see improvement in Q3. The positive results in these segments was more than offset by weaker demand in mass transit, where rail demand was much lower due to declines in energy and mining markets.

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, renewable energy applications, and EV/HEV content.

Q2 2016 Earnings Call Full Transcript

Q2 2016 Financials Press Release

Q2 2016 Earnings Call Slides


Tagged with:  

Safety First at Rogers Corp.

On August 16, 2016, in Corporate Responsibility, by sharilee

Safety is an integral part of Rogers Cultural Behaviors:

  • rogers_livesafelyLife Safely
  • Trust
  • Speak Openly
  • Innovate
  • Just Decide
  • Simply Improve
  • Deliver Results

A very successful Safety Day event, sponsored by Rogers’ R&D Safety Committee and Innovation Center team, was held at corporate headquarters in Rogers CT on May 25, 2016. Safety not only is taken seriously at our manufacturing sites, but also by our R&D and corporate office colleagues who believe a strong safety program requires all employees to be actively involved.

The event was attended by ~85 R&D and Innovation Center employees and 30 employees from the corporate office. The day was broken into one-hour courses so participants had a selection of topics to choose from. The topics included:

  • First aid training by the American Red Cross
  • Diet and Fitness by a local Certified Personal Trainer
  • Home fire safety by the local Deputy Fire Chief
  • Ergonomics by our WorkWell Certified Physical Therapist
  • Home Safety by a Honeywell expert
  • Ladder safety for home and work by KB Ladder
  • Safety gloves and hand protection for home and work

There was also a scavenger hunt, which was the hit of the day. Many people had the opportunity to pair up with colleagues they do not normally work with and learn about safety items they were not familiar with in the R&D building. Random prize triggers throughout the day helped keep everyone interested and involved.

rogers_blog_081616While Rogers holds a variety of safety activities, this was our first Safety Day event initiated, produced, and executed at corporate headquarters for lab and office employees. The R&D and Innovation Center team, lead by Shawn Williams and Loni Decelles did a spectacular job with this event.

A big thank you to the R&D and Innovation Center Safety Committee and R&D leadership for promoting and supporting safe workplace and home safety.

The Rogers Corp. Safety Committee Members are:

Kurt Frisch, Tom Kneeland, Mike Lunt, Bryan Tworzydlo, Loni Decelles, Lisa Langelier, Selina Han, Brian Litke, Chuck Weatherbee, John Kaczowski, Steve Chviek, Betti Sheldon, Craig Clark, and Mark St. Jean.


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

Solder mask is an often-overlooked component of an RF/microwave printed-circuit board (PCB). It provides protection for a circuit but can also have an effect on final performance, especially at higher frequencies. Solder mask may not always be used in RF/microwave circuits but, when it is part of a circuit, it should be accounted for electrically as well, for the most accurate modeling and simulation. Knowing more about the material properties of solder mask can help boost an understanding of how these circuit layers can impact performance at RF/microwave frequencies.

A solder mask is essentially a thin polymer layer that protects copper conductors from oxidation and helps to minimize the creation of short circuits by means of bridges formed by excess solder.

Solder mask provides protection for areas of a PCB that do not require any final plating finish. Traditionally, solder masks have provided their green color to PCBs but solder masks are now available in many other colors as well as in lead-free versions. The requirements for a particular solder mask will be determined by PCB conductor thickness, circuit density, viaholes, and types of components to be attached to the PCB, such as surface-mount-technology (SMT) components.

Solder mask can be applied in dry (film) or liquid forms. Because of the more complete coverage they provide on practical, three-dimensional (3D) surfaces, most solder mask is applied in liquid form. Liquid solder mask is typically formed from a two-component mixture of liquid photoimageable (LPI) polymers and solvents. The liquid components are mixed and used to form a thin coating that will adhere to the different surfaces and materials of a PCB, notably the conductive traces. An LPI solder mask provides protection for the PCB’s circuitry and dielectric materials, and the solder mask must be patterned to form openings (solder mask voids) for electrical connections of circuit components. When using LPI solder-resist inks, openings and other patterns can be formed in the solder mask by exposure to an ultraviolet (UV) light source, using either photolithography or direct laser imaging to create desired openings and patterns.

Most LPI solder mask is based on either an epoxy or acrylic formulation. Each solder mask approach brings its own contributions to a PCB, such as high dissipation factor and poor moisture absorption, that do not necessarily add to excellent high-frequency performance. For example, in contrast to circuit laminates intended for RF/microwave applications and often characterized at 10 GHz, the typical dissipation factor (Df) of an LPI solder mask is 0.025 at 1 GHz, with a dielectric constant (Dk) of around 3.3 to 3.8 at the same frequency, depending upon formulation.

The moisture absorption of an LPI solder mask also depends on the solder mask formulation, and is typically around 1% to 2%. Compare this to moisture absorption of less than 0.3% for most RF/microwave circuit laminates, and it is clear that both parameters of a PCB laminate will be affected by the contributions of an LPI solder mask. Because of the negative impact on RF/microwave performance, solder mask is often omitted from the RF/microwave portion of a PCB even if it can provide protection that enhances reliability.

In high-frequency circuits with microstrip or grounded-coplanar-waveguide (GCPW) transmission lines fabricated on low-loss circuit laminates, the addition of solder mask will increase the dielectric losses and the effective Dk of the circuit compared to a circuit without solder mask. Whether in double-copper-layer or multilayer designs, the characteristics of the solder mask must be included in any computer-aided-engineering (CAE) modeling and simulation performed to predict circuit performance, especially if a design goal is concerned with minimizing circuit losses.

Often, small patches of solder mask are used in RF/microwave circuit designs as “dams” for those areas where solder will be applied and SMT components assembled. In contrast to full circuit solder mask, these smaller patches or dams tends to have negligible impact on electrical performance. In general, if a solder mask patch is less than one-tenth wavelength of the operating frequency, it will not have a significant impact on the performance at that frequency. Provided that such solder mask patches are sufficiently small, they will have negligible effects on a high-frequency PCB. However, the use of multiple solder mask patches within a relatively small section of a PCB can result in a change in the material properties within that area that can have resulting electrical effects, such as higher loss.

In selecting solder mask for PCBs, a number of characteristics should be considered. These include long shelf life, high adhesion, high electrical insulation, good heat resistance, high plating resistance to all forms of plating, including with electroless nickel and gold, and compliant with halogen-free requirements. For applications where performance is critical, the choice of solder mask color can influence the material’s Df and Dk characteristics, where a difference in color can mean a difference, although slight, in both parameters. Proper cleaning and preparation of a PCB surface can also go a long way in ensuring that solder mask adheres strongly to the laminate surface when applied.

Additional information on solder mask is available from the global trade association, Association Connecting Electronics Industries, and its Institute of Printed Circuits (IPC), in the form of publication IPC-SM-840C, which reviews material types, adhesion characteristics, and other parameters of interest. By the nature of the LPI solder mask materials, and the need to form precise openings and other features typically by photolithography, they will be limited in terms of electrical performance compared to modern low-loss, high-performance circuit laminates. But when the protection of solder mask is needed for a design, and through proper planning and simulation with modern CAE circuit modeling software, solder mask can be added to RF/microwave double-copper-layer and multilayer circuits with minimal or no penalties in performance.

rog-mobileROG 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.

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