Stephen V. Chavez Talks Mil/Aero PCB Design


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Stephen V. Chavez, CID+, is the lead PCB designer for the Electronic Systems Center division of UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS), a military contractor that builds all manner of cutting-edge tools for the American warfigher. He’s been designing military and aerospace PCBs for decades, and he’s a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

“Steph,” as he likes to be called, is also the vice president of his local IPC Designers Council chapter in Phoenix, a CID instructor with EPTAC, and a Designers Council Executive Board member at large. And each year at IPC APEX EXPO, he’s a regular speaker during the Design Forum event.

So, for our mil/aero issue, I wanted to get Steph’s insight into PCB design at a leading defense contractor. I caught up with Steph and asked for his thoughts on designing PCBs for the military and aerospace markets, and what sort of regulatory and cybersecurity hoops military contractors like UTAS must jump through.

Andy Shaughnessy: Steph, tell the readers a little about UTC Aerospace Systems and what your job there entails.

Stephen Chavez: Sure, Andy. At UTC Aerospace Systems we design, manufacture and service systems and components and provide integrated solutions for a variety of aircraft: commercial, regional, business and military aircraft, helicopters and other platforms. We are also a major supplier to international space programs. Our customers include OEMs that build aircraft and helicopters, engine manufacturers, and airlines, as well as defense agencies and contractors.

As for my job within UTAS, I am a technical lead of PCB design, which entails many areas of PCBs, ranging from design, fabrication, and assembly, from prototypes to production. This also includes being a very active team member in global activities with other UTAS strategic business units, as well as adding my leadership, experience and continued education within our internal global community of practice regarding all subject areas related to PCBs.

Shaughnessy: What sort of products do your PCBs wind up in? What are some of the “cool” applications you’ve been involved in?

Chavez: Basically, our PCBs go anywhere within the aircraft from nose to tail, as well as within the test equipment we design in-house. I have been very blessed to work on many cool applications here at UTAS, but unfortunately, I am not at liberty to disclose any of these details or specific information.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the July 2017 issue of The PCB Design Magazine, click here.

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