Archive for July, 2012

ITAR and Printed Circuit Boards (Part 2).

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

In part one of this series we discussed the purpose of ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) and the government agency responsible for it’s oversight and enforcement. We also talked about what items are covered by ITAR through category 21 of the USML (United States Munitions List) and what the potential penalties are for violations. In this posting we shall talk about who ITAR applies to and the registration process.

Why do we have to register for ITAR?

Registration provides the United States Department of State necessary information used monitor and regulate defense items that are manufactured, imported and exported. It is important to point out at this point that (more…)

ITAR and Printed Circuit Boards (Part 1).

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

ITAR is an acronym for the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. The purpose of ITAR is to safeguard and control the export and import of defense related information and technology related to and that appear on the United States Munitions List (USML). ITAR is a set of regulations that came into being in order to implement provisions of the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 (AECA). The United States Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) interprets and enforces ITAR. The mission statement of the DDTC is as follows…

The U.S. Government views the sale, export, and re-transfer of defense articles and defense services as an integral part of safeguarding U.S. national security and furthering U.S. foreign policy objectives. The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), in accordance with 22 U.S.C. 2778-2780 of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) (22 CFR Parts 120-130), is charged with controlling the export and temporary import of defense articles and defense services covered by the United States Munitions List (USML).

The USML in its entirety may be found here. The list is segregated into 21 categories. Most categories cover specific technologies, equipment or applications. The important classification that you need to be aware of is (more…)

Self-Intersecting Polygons, or is it?

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Have you recently purchased boards from a printed circuit board factory only to find that some complex solderable features on the board that you were going to assemble to didn’t come out correctly? The data you provided to the factory was in the Extended Gerber format (RS-274-X). You notify the manufacturer so that they can determine the root cause of the error. After a few days you are told that your data was loaded into several different CAM programs by the manufacturer and the data resulted in the same shape. Some manufacturers may have even come back to you and stated that different CAM stations running different programs came up with different results, one correct and the other incorrect. Ultimately you are told that your data has illegal self-intersecting polygons that are the culprit.

In my new position at The Bare Board Group (BBG) I have the opportunity to work on a wide range of technology ranging from simple single and double sided boards to advanced rigid-flex designs with HDI blind and buried vias. Its safe to say that we see it all since we are capable of providing boards to meet most design criteria. That being said we also came across the infamous self-intersecting polygon non-conformance on a board we provided. I have decades of experience working with the Gerber format and programming in general. I also like to understand how a problem occurs so that I can prevent it from happening again in the future. I started evaluating the non-conformance and was very surprised by what I discovered at the end of my investigation. To understand the non-conformance and the root cause of the problem you shall first need (more…)