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In the last 50 years, the global population has consumed more goods and services than the combined total of all previous generations. This has fostered economic growth and improved the quality of life for many while having a negative impact on the environment. However, consumption patterns differ significantly between developed and developing nations.
Technological development in the electronics industry has evolved not just at a rapid pace but has been accelerating steadily over the past 20 to 30 years. There have been many success stories and many failures. Competition is fierce. Companies that were start-ups a decade ago are now leaders in the electronics sector while many that were at the top have now ceased to exist. The advent of smart technology and the ever growing demand for smart devices and connectivity are bound to speed up the process even more.
Artificial intelligence, robotics, biometrics, virtual and augmented reality, smart transportation, digital health and 5G connectivity are hot topics these days. What is their common denominator? They all rely heavily on electronic components – in fact they would not even exist if not for them.
Electronics are omnipresent today. For the younger generations, it must be difficult to imagine life without the array of electronic, smart devices that are an integral part of our daily interactions. Few realize that, without the inventors, thinkers and scientists of past centuries, the world as they know it, might not be the same.
Avionics - a term coined from the merging of aviation and electronics - deals with all electronic devices and systems that perform specific individual functions on aircraft, satellites and spacecraft.
Capacitors, resistors and inductors are passive components. Together with active components (semiconductors), circuit boards, connectors and some other components such as filters, switches and fuses, they represent the basic building blocks of myriads of electronic products across the world.
With the digitization of societies, electronics has become ubiquitous in modern life. Smart devices and appliances, industrial automation and robotics, autonomous vehicles, the internet of things (IoT) and everything, aerospace and defense equipment medical equipment are only some of the fields where electronic equipment are increasingly becoming indispensable, leading to considerable market growth.
The demand for energy is growing fast, for electricity even faster. To meet the needs of over 9 billion people by 2050, energy production will have to double while at the same time greenhouse gas emissions will have to be drastically reduced. This can only be achieved through a transition from a carbon-based economy towards a sustainable and efficient energy model that is accessible to all on the planet.
Smart and connectivity are two of the words that probably best describe our society in the 21st century. Everyone and everything is connected nowadays, or soon will be. Cities, buildings, homes, farms, industrial plants, transportation, appliances, wearables and mobile devices are intrinsically linked to our way of life.
It is with great sadness that the IEC learnt of the passing away of former IECQ Chair Dave W. Smith on 20 June 2017.
Printed electronics as a manufacturing method has become established in a number of areas across the electrotechnical world. The connections that are made are emerging as particularly significant in the new generation of wearable electronic devices. Although some wearable applications can be realized using wholly conventional rigid electronics, many will require some element of flexibility. Standardization work by a number of IEC Technical Committees (TCs) and subcommittees (SCs) is central to this development.
Smartness has become a way of life. Today most of our activities are – at least in part – smart. Whether you work, drive, sleep, enjoy an idle moment, it is most likely that smartness is part of it. We also keep our energy consumption in check with smart appliances and meters. Even our pets now have their own smart devices and apps, allowing us to track their every movement. All this smartness has one common denominator: electronic components and in particular sensors.
Electronic systems used on most modern commercial aircraft include hundreds of systems that help perform specific functions.
Smart and connectivity are two of the words that probably best describe our society in the 21st century. Everyone and everything is connected nowadays. Cities, buildings, transportation means, mobile devices are becoming smarter. Even the most mundane objects – the smart frying pan is a good example – have their connected version.
Long gone are the days when you had to be home and in front of your television to watch major sports events such as the Olympics or a football championship. Today you have access to broadcast on your computer, tablet or smartphone, and you can even experience virtual reality (VR).
In the past, a little knowledge in mechanics was all it took to do minor repair on your car. Nowadays you probably need a degree in IT engineering to perform even the most mundane type of maintenance on your vehicle.
The doctor-patient relationship has evolved tremendously in the past decade or so. There was a time when any medical exam had to be performed at a hospital or a doctor’s practice. The recent and rapid emergence of home healthcare technologies is slowly changing the whole medical landscape.
Is there a time of day or night when we do not rely on electrical or electronic devices in one way or another? Home and workplace are obviously full of appliances, devices and equipment that help us in our daily professional tasks and domestic chores. And with the ever growing number of wearables with us at all times, everything’s connected. Our reliance on electronics seems to be a 24/7 affair.
Solid-state lighting (SSL) is rapidly becoming the preferred light source for many lighting applications and the demand will continue to grow. SSL solutions are widely used in industrial and commercial environments. They are also making inroads in urban and airport lighting, automotive headlamps, traffic signals and advertising. They can be used in almost any kind of applications.
The United Nations proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies, recognizing “the importance of raising global awareness about how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health”. This global initiative ties in very smoothly with another, put forward by IECQ (IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components), namely the IECQ LED initiative.
IECQ (IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components) has been thriving in the past 12 months. The launch in 2013 of new programmes for the automotive industry and counterfeit avoidance have enriched its portfolio and broadened its scope. Together with the complete restructuring of the Schemes and a new website, they have brought new dynamics to the System. Not resting on its laurels, IECQ is actively working on new developments.
From indicator lamps on electronic devices or numeric readouts on digital clocks to their current use in a wide variety of lighting solutions, LEDs (light-emitting diodes) have come a long way in a few decades. They are now replacing incandescent or CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) light bulbs in domestic, residential, commercial and industrial applications.
More than a century ago, the first IEC President, Lord Kelvin, was quoted as saying: “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it”. This is as true today as it was then. One thing that has changed since those words were uttered is the way we measure things today.
Electronics is omnipresent in our lives today. From mobile devices and wearables to home appliances, office equipment, industrial automation, healthcare facilities, transportation and entertainment, it is integrated in every device, piece of equipment and machinery, in every installation and system. That goes for energy transmission and distribution as well, which have been brought sharply into focus now that Smart Grids and Smart Cities are a hot topic.
The vision of the future sees robots doing a number of things that humans don’t want to do, such as vacuuming. Though the use of artificial intelligence is not yet widespread, robots are moving into sectors that seemed unlikely even a decade ago; for example, assisting in surgical procedures. IECQ, the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components, helps to ensure the reliability of components used in any robots that care for us.
Some days it looks if you are going to be stuck in traffic forever. Sometimes it is because traffic volumes have suddenly increased. All you can see is car ahead of car as far as the eye can see. At other times, you hear the squeal of tyres and then you see two cars collide. About 1.24 million people died on the world’s roads in 2010, said the Global Health Observatory of the WHO (World Health Organization). But technology may be able to increase safety or save you from being stuck in traffic sooner than you think.
Children born in the 1990s probably can’t remember what it was like without internet access, when making a mixed tape was cool or when the newest game from Sega was the Christmas gift that everyone yearned for. Since that time kids’ toys and children’s own technological understanding have advanced. But how safe is that robotic dog that you want to buy for your child?
TAITRONICS, one of the world’s largest electronic shows, took place in October with IECQ leading the way.
Since it first began, IECQ has been gaining worldwide recognition as the international system for providing independent verification that electronic components, related materials and processes comply with appropriate standards and specifications.
IECQ, the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components, ensures the safety and reliability of electronic components used in the IT, avionics, and a number of other industries. It also monitors and tests the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment and provides assessment and certification for facilities that handle unprotected ESD (electrostatic discharge) sensitive devices.
The Louvre, one of the largest museums in the world, is a grand sight to behold. Its front entrance, a glass pyramid built in the late 1980s, is imposing in its size and shine. Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 19th century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres. Around 9 million visits are made to the Louvre every year.
Counterfeiting has proven to be a viable and lucrative industry in many areas of the world, specifically the counterfeiting of microcircuits used in electronic devices. IECQ, the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components, has launched a programme designed to address the international counterfeit crisis faced by the aerospace, defense and high performance (ADHP) sectors
In thousands of ways, new and smaller technologies are helping us move forward. From surgical tools that are smarter to toys that let us compete at playing tennis with someone around the world, electronics and their components are doing more than ever before.
The IEC has recently published the 2nd edition of IEC/TS 62239-1, Process management for avionics – Management plan – Part 1: Preparation and maintenance of an electronic components management plan, which now includes the management of lead-free termination finish and soldering of avionic components.
As winter comes to a close, your jacket may give you an electrostatic shock. You may get one from touching a metallic doorknob after crossing a carpeted room or from shaking someone’s hand. Although static electricity is ever present people rarely notice it.
Those of you who are frequent visitors to the IECQ website will undoubtedly be pleased to discover the new and totally revamped website that launched in mid-January. And for first-time visitors who want to learn about IECQ, finding their way around the different sections will be child’s play.
IECQ, the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components, has recently published the 3rd edition of IECQ QC 080000, Hazardous Substance Process Management System Requirements. The specification and its requirements are based on the strong belief that the provision of hazardous substance-free products and production processes can only be achieved by integrating management disciplines fully.
Electronic components play an ever increasing role in our lives. Homes, offices, factories and transportation systems all rely heavily on them. Mobile telephones, computers, car and airplane navigation systems and automated production chains wouldn’t exist without them. They make our lives easier and provide better communication in a world that has become global and interconnected.
Invisible yet omnipresent, electronic components play a crucial role in modern technology. Found in parts as diverse as integrated circuits to resistors, capacitors, transistors, LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and switches, they are an essential part of all electrical and electronic devices, equipment and installations, including the heating and cooling systems that form the topic of this month’s e-tech.
In countless ways, modern day technologies have changed the way we live. The emergence and extraordinary success of small mobile devices has increased our reliance on electronics at all times of day – and night. Whatever we do, wherever we are, we rely on them for communication, connecting with others – whether at work or at home – travelling, playing and keeping fit.
In issue after issue of e-tech, we see that electronic components play an ever increasing role in our lives. At home, at work, on the road, in the air, whatever we do, wherever we are, we rely on electronics to make our lives easier, to provide better communication and operate in a world that has become global and interconnected.
Avionics – a blend of aviation and electronics – comprises all electronic systems used in aircraft, satellites and spacecraft. It includes communications, navigation, flight and engine control, collision-avoidance and weather-based systems.
Smart is the word. Appliances, multimedia equipment, security systems are all becoming more sophisticated, making life much easier and safer. All these devices and systems would not exist without electronic components. To accompany the rapid technological developments of recent years, electronic component manufacturers have been designing products that are smarter, smaller and offer enhanced performance and functionality.
An LED (Light-Emitting Diode) is basically a semiconductor light source. LEDs, primarily used as indicator lamps in many devices, are increasingly used for industrial, commercial, residential and domestic lighting. The market for LEDs is large, growing fast and is dominated by Asian manufacturers from China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
Fibre optic lines have revolutionized communications, from long-distance phone calls to cable TV and Internet. Business and industry have used fibre optic technology for years to move large amounts of data quickly. Fibre-based communication is expected to grow tremendously in years to come.
The global market for electronic components has shown strong growth for many years. This is a real success story, achieved as a result of consistent technological and industrial innovation. In recent years, electronic manufacturers have had to address new concerns: national and regional endeavours to pass legislation restricting or forbidding the use of hazardous substances in components, and the emergence of counterfeit products
There are all types of robots loaded with electrotechnology and the electronics and semiconductor industries are relying increasingly on robotics for their product assembly processes. According to data compiled by the US Robotic Industries Association, the volume of robot sales to the electronics and semiconductor industry rose by nearly two-thirds during the first quarter of 2011.
Electronics are everywhere in commercial and office buildings. Elevators, escalators, automatic sliding doors or lighting all rely heavily on electronics nowadays. The same can be said of most of the smaller devices that equip stores and offices. While safety is an important issue for any electronic device, it is becoming crucial for equipment that is used by hundreds, if not thousands, of people every day.
Modern-day technologies are not confined to homes, factories or offices. They have also reached the outdoors. While electric lawn mowers and gardening tools have been around for some time, they have, in recent years, benefitted from the numerous developments in the electronics sector, as have other outdoor devices and equipment.
The boom in air and road traffic in the past 40 years or so has been determinant in the development of electronics in those sectors. Today, all modes of transportation rely on electronics for navigation, communication or engine-control management as well as for entertainment. Electronic devices and systems are designed to bring more safety, reliability and comfort to pilots, drivers and passengers alike.
Your 15-year-old washing machine just broke down and you need to buy a new one? You’re in for a big surprise…the simple washing machine that you switch on by turning the operating dial and pressing the start button is gone. The new machines all use advanced technologies, taking modern lifestyles and environmental issues into consideration.