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The U.S. Senate last night approved an FY 2022 spending package that contains $7.5 million for further research and development on lead-free electronics in defense and high-performance applications, sending the measure to President Biden for his expected signature.
“With lead-based electronics becoming more difficult and expensive for the U.S. Defense Department to procure – and with other nations now leading the world in electronics manufacturing – greater U.S. reliance on lead-free electronics is imperative to improve military readiness and innovation,” said Chris Mitchell, IPC vice president of global government relations.
“The migration of the commercial electronics industry to lead-free technology has created supply-chain concerns for the defense and high-performance sectors that can only be overcome through public-private R&D,” he added. “These funds will support an ongoing, collaborative effort that will help ensure that mission-critical systems have full access to cutting-edge electronics from a robust global supply chain.”
“It’s also important to realize that the lead-free electronics R&D project is both consequential as a stand-alone project and as a test of American resolve to reassert leadership in electronics,” Mitchell added. “We thank the congressional leaders who understand this issue, and we call on Congress to keep funding this project to completion over the next three years,” he said.
Participants in the two-year-old R&D program include Auburn University, Binghamton University, Purdue University, the University of Maryland, BAE Systems, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Plexus, Raytheon Technologies, and many others. The R&D is being carried out under the auspices of the Defense Electronics Consortium of the U.S. Partnership for Assured Electronics (USPAE).
Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
The big news in the industry this week was the new bill introduced to the U.S. Congress in support of the PCB manufacturing industry. The Supporting American Printed Circuit Boards Act of 2022, which was introduced by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Blake Moore (R-UT), incentivizes “purchases of domestically produced PCBs as well as industry investments in factories, equipment, workforce training, and research and development.” The bill is a PCB-oriented complement to the semiconductor-oriented CHIPS Act of 2021.
Jeff Brandman, Aismalibar North America
Heat has been a significant concern in electronics since the beginning of the electronics age when hot glowing vacuum tubes were first used to receive and transmit data bits. The transistor and integrated circuit effectively solved that basic problem, but increases in integration resulted in increased concentration of heat, exacerbated by relentless increases in operating frequency. While improvements in electronics technology have been able to mitigate many thermal issues at chip level thanks to improved semiconductor designs devised to operate at lower voltages (thus requiring less energy) the thermal management challenge continues to vex electronic product developers.
Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
It’s been a crazy week, with lots of bad news coming out of Ukraine. (I’m a news junkie by trade, but I confess that some days I just unplug from the news completely to avoid overdosing on negativity.) And, as you might have guessed, this is all having ill effects on our electronics supply chain, which is already stretched thin. This is reflected in our IPC news item that shows an uptick in PCB sales in February, but a drop in bookings YOY, in part due to the trouble in Eastern Europe. But there’s positive news in this week’s top reads. We have a NextFlex article about an innovative flexible technology called flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) and a great interview by Dan Beaulieu. We also have a column by Travis Kelly, who discusses PCBAA’s efforts to lobby for American manufacturing in Washington. And last but not least, let’s welcome our two newest columnists, Paige Fiet and Hannah Nelson, who discuss their excitement about entering this industry.