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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited
The last issue of Circuit World contained papers reporting work carried out in the UK to help the printed circuit board manufacturing industry tackle the increasingly difficult problem of waste. The generation of effluent and scrap materials is both a costly drain on an industry, which in the UK is struggling to remain competitive with low cost producers in the Far East, and an example of the waste of finite materials that can often be recycled and reused. This latest issue features a third paper on this theme which gives a summary of a recent scoping study undertaken with support from the UK Department of Trade and Industry and Shipley Europe Ltd to investigate the possibilities for recycling end-of life printed circuit boards. Currently, it is estimated that around 85 per cent of these boards are consigned to landfill but the waste from electrical and electronic equipment directive will soon mean that these practices will no longer be acceptable. Manufacturers and suppliers operating in the European market will have a legal responsibility to play their part in ensuring that the increasingly stringent recovery targets are met. The paper published here highlights the magnitude of the problem and the need to establish an integrated recycling capability before the legislation really starts to have a serious impact in the next three years or so.
The recent migration of PCB manufacturing from Europe to the Far East is both well known and well documented and much of our former capacity may now be lost for good. Whilst this is perhaps an inevitable transition in an industry which is so highly competitive and where improved performance is invariably linked with reduced costs, it is still true that there is much good work to develop new technology being carried out here in Europe. In this issue of Circuit World there are two papers describing work from companies in Europe that are developing new materials, equipment and processes capable of meeting the most demanding requirements of future interconnect technology. Against this we must also acknowledge that, as the global focus on interconnect manufacturing moves to the Far East, it will be here that much of the future research and development will be based. Accordingly, I have included a paper in this issue from Japan, which details some interesting fundamental research that has been undertaken to study the basic role of copper morphology and annealing effects on the fabrication of highly reliable circuit boards.
Finally, having been editor of Circuit World for the last 2 years, I have been pleasantly surprised to find that even in these difficult times there is still so much interesting and innovative work being carried out both in Europe and wider afield. A good example of this work is given by the sixth paper in this issue which addresses, in a novel way, one of the major issues that many circuit designers and manufacturers increasingly have to face and that is power management and dissipation. The paper by Dr Sue Pulko et al. describes a tool which is ideally suited to the modelling of many power electronic devices and which has proved very useful in the study of transient thermal effects in a variety of device structures.
It is my intention that Circuit World should aim to provide a window through which its readers gain a better insight into just what good technology and related work is actually being carried out both by industry and academia. As with any task, I am only too aware that there may be opportunities for improvement and I close this issue's editorial by inviting you to submit your opinions, views and comments on Circuit World directly to me. I can be contacted at email@example.com and I look forward to hearing from you.
Martin GooseyNovember 2002