In recent decades, Japan has been at the forefront of technology development. Emojis have changed the way billions communicate. The Shinkansen, or bullet train, network in Japan is the envy of many. Children of the 1980’s fondly remember their first Walkman.
Today, Japanese engineers continue to innovate in robotics, telecommunications, electric vehicles, and many related fields. Additionally, bleeding edge R+D in material science, semiconductor material, and electronics processing and packaging drive innovation in next-gen solutions.
Samtec Japan has a growing team of engineers, technologists, and researchers expanding our technical capabilities. Yasuo Sasaki, Technologist at Samtec, helps lead our global R+D efforts. Let’s hear his comments on some of Samtec’s R+D strategies in Japan.
One of Many Experts – Yasuo Sasaki
How did you get into engineering?
As a young boy, I was interested in ham radios. My 3W 50 MHz FM transceiver could communicate tens of kilometers. On certain occasions, I could reach overseas to places like Australia and Hawaii when sporadic E layers appear.
It was very exciting to reach such faraway places. I wanted expand my reach, so I developed my own equipment. Building a basic dipole antenna was first. I tried to lower VSWR by trimming the antenna elements. In time, I built multi-element Yagi antenna stacks at 430 MHz and 1.2 GHz.
Eventually, I joined NTT as a telecommunication engineer. I worked in switching, transmission, and cellular/mobile systems. Eventually I got into fiber optics. I designed a large network and helped with the installation and operation. In addition, I went to Liberia to help develop their telecommunications network as a consultant funded by a Japanese aid program.
What is your current role at Samtec?
I am a Technologist that focuses on R+D at Samtec. I look into the crystal ball to best determine what technologies and capabilities are needed to expand Samtec’s product roadmap. We try to anticipate future network and system architectures by working with other specialists in Samtec.
Some of our R+D efforts include understanding IC technology trends, developing necessary tech partnerships to lead the industry, looking into material science to develop new materials for our future needs, or developing new surface treatments (i.e., plating) and so on.
What does a typical day look like for you and your team?
Like many others at Samtec, I wear many hats. No day is typical. One day I may be working on a plating experiment with a technology partner. Another day may be spent with a vendor researching new materials. On another day, I may have to help solve complex quality issues for our customers.
What are some of the technical challenges you are currently working on?
Next-generation interconnects are getting smaller and denser. At Samtec, we continue to research new and emerging technologies required to shrink our interconnect. Some examples include searching for higher electrical performance resin or high-performance substrate for connector contacts.
For me, the biggest challenge is trying to predict the most disruptive technologies coming down the road. Decades ago, it was easier to predict technology roadmap. Today, it is much more challenging. As a company, we cannot miss on disruptive technologies within the interconnect industry. Our aggressive R+D efforts should help us stay ahead of emerging technology trends.
What are some of the technical specializations unique to Japan?
That is a good question. In general, Japanese engineers are very good at making things very small. Samtec needs to leverage those capabilities including many advanced materials and materials research coming from Japan. Automation and SPC quality control are very strong in Japan.
What engineering resource does Samtec have in Japan?
We have a small but growing engineering team here in Japan. We have connector design engineers, electro-chemists, quality control engineers and more. Like many companies, Samtec is actively seeking additional engineering resources to address our future development needs.
For More Information
At Samtec, integration leads to innovation. Global collaboration between Technology Centers guides advanced technology development with a goal of bringing the most effective and innovative solutions to life. As bandwidth, scale and power requirements continue to challenge conventional engineering methods, Samtec an optimize the entire system and develop solutions, together.