SURFENERGY – a new European project to help the PCB and surface finishing sectors

Circuit World

ISSN: 0305-6120

Article publication date: 20 November 2009



(2009), "SURFENERGY – a new European project to help the PCB and surface finishing sectors", Circuit World, Vol. 35 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

SURFENERGY – a new European project to help the PCB and surface finishing sectors

Article Type: Industry news From: Circuit World, Volume 35, Issue 4

A new project supported by Intelligent Energy Europe called SURFENERGY has recently commenced with the intention of helping the European PCB and surface finishing sectors to reduce their energy consumption. The title SURFENERGY is an abbreviation derived from the full project title “Advanced Tools for SURFace Finishing Processes to Optimise ENERGY Efficiency”, which gives a good summary of the project's overall objectives. The SURFENERGY project is supporting the introduction of energy efficiency measures by Small and Medium Enterprises sized (SMEs) in the PCB and Surface Finishing manufacturing industry sectors and includes partners from the UK, Spain, France and Holland. The aim of the project is to increase the awareness of manufacturing companies in these sectors to the introduction of energy management systems and the subsequent potential benefits that could result. The project outputs will provide options for energy efficiency solutions, based on a detailed analysis and understanding of the generic production processes currently in use by these sectors.

SURFENERGY is also addressing non-technological barriers to the introduction of energy efficiency measures through the main project actions which are as follows: development of an interactive software toolkit; process benchmarking; intelligence gathering on emerging technologies and integration with environmental assessment. The project team plans to rigorously evaluate this toolkit via SME end-user applications testing during the second half of the project. The results of the project will be supplied to European companies via a targeted dissemination programme that will utilise industry trade associations and other routes that will increase awareness directly within industrial manufacturing SMEs. The strategic aims will support European policy objectives on energy efficiency and increasing competitiveness.

The expected results and outputs from the SURFENERGY project can be summarised as follows:

  • An interactive software toolkit, based on technological analysis of generic processes, to facilitate options for energy efficiency solutions. The great majority of companies in the targeted industry sectors are SMEs and the project will therefore essentially address the non-technological barriers to the introduction of energy efficiency solutions to this type of organisation, within the context of the specific types of technology used in production processes.

  • An energy efficiency benchmarking component of the toolkit will be developed and applied to the collection, analysis and reporting of data for generic processes currently in industrial use. Existing benchmarking approaches will be developed and tailored to the needs of the target audience and will be focussed on process-specific requirements. This approach will enable industrial manufacturers to compare their performance with industry standards and will act as an important stimulus for the implementation of energy monitoring and management.

  • Intelligence gathering on new, emerging technologies and market drivers will be carried out. SMEs in the target groups often do not have sufficient resources to keep up to date with new technological developments that may have a strong impact on their future operations. Therefore, an important aim of the project is to inform the target audience about the energy efficiency implications of emerging technologies and the market/economic/societal drivers that may have an impact on their operations in the short to medium term.

  • In addition to achieving excellence in industrial energy efficiency, all processes must be sustainable with a low environmental impact. In order to establish the environmental issues related to materials flow, including emissions to air and water, water usage, etc. a simplified/streamlined Life Cycle Analysis approach will be applied to complement the detailed energy flow assessment.

  • Targeted dissemination through the relevant trade associations and other routes will be used to increase awareness in the manufacturing sectors with high levels of “market penetration”. These are traditional, SME-intensive industries, which are closely related technologically in that they operate many very similar industrial processes with overlapping issues in respect of the need to reduce energy consumption.

At the time of writing, the project has only recently started. However, a technical assessment of the energy saving possibilities in the PCB and Surface Finishing sectors has been completed. A comprehensive list of manufacturing processes has been compiled and savings grouped into generic categories including: process improvement; retrofitting of more efficient equipment; waste reduction in existing processes; new processes and research developments. A project web site has been established or contact for more details of the SURFENERGY project.

SURFENERGY is being supported by co-funding from the European Commission programme Intelligent Energy Europe.

BFR, brominated flame retardant; CFR, chlorinated flame retardant; PVC, polyvinyl chloride.

IPC/JEDEC J-STD-709, Limits for Bromine and Chlorine in Flame Retardants and PVC in “low halogen” electronic products (proposed standard for ballot, January 2009).

HFR, halogenated flame retardant.

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