One World, One Industry: Automotive Electronics—Past / Present / Future

As electronics play an increasingly important role in automotive manufacturing, tremendous change and great progress have been made worldwide. We are at the crossroads of incredible technological advancements, and it’s been exhilarating to watch. I am eager to see what happens next.

Did you know that your car is likely the most technologically advanced device you own? It seems weird to refer to a car as a device, but modern automobiles have more chips and circuit boards than your average home internet appliance.

Printed circuit boards play a vital role in the performance and reliability of many critical systems. Most of today’s cars have between 30 and 80 separate electronic controllers.

We are seeing changes in many different areas of technology related to automotive electronics and I’d like to cover three in more detail: artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and additive manufacturing.

Artificial intelligence, computers and computer software capable of intelligent behavior, is moving ahead at a rapid pace. Today, we have driverless cars that can navigate traffic on their own. According to Gartner Reports, autonomous vehicles will comprise 25% of the market by 2030. It is suggested that AI will improve the auto manufacturing sector in several ways, among them: less equipment failure, more productive employees through robot-human collaboration, and fewer quality problems.

Augmented reality (AR) adds texture and information to the world we already live in, providing a deeper learning experience by integrating digital information in a real-time environment. For the automotive industry, AR will likely be instrumental in future advancements. Volvo uses Microsoft’s HoloLens, a type of AR glasses, that enables production line workers to view assembly instructions digitally in real-time while working to put together parts of the vehicle.

For consumers, Volkswagen recently launched an app for its luxury brand Audi that allows car shoppers to experience an AR-based test drive without being close to the automobile.

Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, is also something that has come a long way in the past several years. Additive manufacturing enables the production of components more quickly, and it shortens the design process by digitally changing part of the model. It allows changes to be made more quickly than traditionally.

Components that can be produced with additive manufacturing in automotive applications include exhaust and emissions, fluid handling systems, and exterior parts such as bumpers. Additive manufacturing is expected to be used in the very near future on interiors and seating, tires and suspension, electronics, framework and doors and engine components.

With all this rapid change, what can we do to move forward? IPC is involved in creating standards for the automotive industry and has found the advances in electrical systems in car manufacturing a natural growth industry for electronics manufacturing.

Two years ago, IPC developed its first automotive addendum, IPC-6012DA, Automotive Applications Addendum to IPC-6012D Qualification and Performance Specification for Rigid Printed Boards. The addendum addresses the reliability of rigid printed boards which must survive the vibration and thermal cycling environments of electronic interconnects within the automotive industry.

Under development are additional automotive addendums for the following IPC standards: IPC-A-610, Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies; IPC J-STD-001, Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies; and IPC/WHMA-A-620, Requirements and Acceptance for Cable and Wire Harness Assemblies.

We encourage you to join us in standards development activities to ensure the needs you face in this ever-changing and rapidly advancing industry are met. We welcome your input and expertise as we all embrace the future of automotive electronics.   

John Mitchell is president and CEO of IPC−Association Connecting Electronics Industries. To read past columns or to contact Mitchell, click here.

This article originally appeared in the July 2018 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.

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2018

One World, One Industry: Automotive Electronics—Past / Present / Future

08-17-2018

As electronics play an increasingly important role in automotive manufacturing, tremendous change and great progress have been made worldwide. We are at the crossroads of incredible technological advancements, and it’s been exhilarating to watch. I am eager to see what happens next.

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IMPACT 2018: We Need Your Voice in Washington, D.C.!

07-23-2018

It’s that time of year again: IPC’s IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2018 is on the horizon. As a global, industry-driven organization, IPC exists to help its member companies innovate, compete, and succeed in the electronics industry.

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IPC Addresses Skills Gap

07-04-2018

A recent IPC global survey found that while the skills gap may vary depending on the job role and geographic location surveyed, many companies in the industry are struggling to find the talent they need, and the problem is expected to continue over the next decade.

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One World, One Industry: IPC’s Job Task Analysis Committee Needs Your Expertise and Experience to Address the Skills Gap

06-25-2018

IPC is investing in the future by supporting our members’ workforce and training needs to meet the demands of a continually changing and advancing industry. With the creation of our Job Task Analysis Committee (JTA), we are collaborating with a group of industry subject matter experts tasked with the responsibility of defining a competency model for the electronics industry.

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One World, One Industry: Meet IPC’s Vice President of Global Government Relations, Chris Mitchell

05-29-2018

In this new role, Chris will work closely with IPC’s Government Relations Steering Committee and its government relations team based in Washington, D.C. Chris will represent IPC and the electronics manufacturing industry before key policymakers globally and identify issues and other opportunities where IPC can demonstrate its leadership in government relations and public policy.

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One World, One Industry: Skilled Talent—Can We Meet Rising Demand?

04-02-2018

In 2018, the U.S. GDP is expected to continue its rise, while unemployment rates are expected to drop further. Experts agree that the global economy is also showing signs of strengthening.

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One World, One Industry: Electronics Industry Advocacy More Important than Ever

02-23-2018

From the Americas to Europe, Asia and beyond, the future of the electronics manufacturing industry is shaped in many ways by government policies. This will be true like never before in 2018, as legislators and regulators the world over are eyeing policy decisions on issues such as technology research and development, taxes, workforce skills, and the environment.

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2017

One World, One Industry: Connecting the Dots Between Manufacturing and Community

11-24-2017

Across the United States, the first Friday in October represents the annual celebration of Manufacturing Day. On this date, manufacturers and supporters come together to celebrate the longevity and success of our industry. Since 2012, Manufacturing Day has served as a chance to learn about the businesses that thrive in our communities and contribute greatly to the economy.

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One World, One Industry: Pursuing New Solutions to the Electronics Sectors’ Skills Gap

11-15-2017

In a recent survey of our U.S. member companies[1], most said they have a hard time finding local talent to run their businesses. Respondents cited many essential skills that are in short supply, but the most common ones are soldering for production jobs, and engineers with industry experience, especially in process, test, and quality control. Making matters even more challenging, as new innovations emerge, new skills requirements emerge as well.

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One World, One Industry: The Future of Electronics in the Automotive Industry

09-15-2017

Automotive electronics is not a new topic. While there is a trend for both performance and luxury electronics, many of the recent conversations tend to focus on self-driving/autonomous vehicles. While the technology is exciting, it is just the tip of the iceberg.

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One World, One Industry: India Makes Manufacturing Gains to Participate in a Global Economy

08-18-2017

The manufacturing industry is truly a global one. While the past few decades have seen the rise of manufacturing in China and countries throughout Europe and South America, the last 10 years have been marked by significant progress in India. While the greater Asian area has flourished, India has been hampered by many factors including a struggling infrastructure.

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One World, One Industry: Three Ways to Close the Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing

07-12-2017

The skills gap is a chronic problem in the manufacturing sector. Most manufacturing companies have a hard time aligning the talent needed to run their businesses with the talent that is available to work locally. And as new innovations emerge, new skills requirements emerge as well.

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One World, One Industry: Having an Impact from the Shop Floor to the Halls of Government

07-07-2017

When you have concerns about government regulations and policies that impact your business, what can you do? Among several options, a direct approach is one of the best: Reach out to your elected officials and share your concerns. The odds are good that they will be responsive and look into ways of helping out a hometown business.

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China—A Critical Partner for Trade

06-09-2017

Count me among those business leaders who thought the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was on the right track last year and would have brought significant benefits to all nations, including the United States. Before President Trump withdrew the United States from the TPP trade negotiations, I had argued it would have unified the world’s most dynamic economic region—bringing together developed and developing countries that collectively represent 825 million consumers and 40% of the world’s economic output.

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One World, One Industry: 100 Days In—President Trump and a Better Manufacturing Policy

04-19-2017

To truly increase the number of American manufacturing jobs, President Trump should support increased investment in research and development for advanced manufacturing, promote and fund STEM education in primary and secondary schools, and build stronger apprenticeship programs. It is this type of investment—in human capital and technology—that will truly help make American manufacturing great again.

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One World, One Industry: IPC’s Global Policy Framework for 2017—Smart Advocacy for the Industry

04-10-2017

As President Trump was being sworn in several weeks ago, and as the new Congress was getting down to work, IPC released its Global Policy Framework for 2017. As we work to represent more than 3,800 member facilities across the electronics industry’s global supply chain, IPC will adhere to this framework to guide our policy work in the coming months. All of our advocacy efforts are aimed at fostering an environment in which electronics manufacturers and their suppliers can thrive and grow.

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One World, One Industry: Emerging Technology, Training for the Future, and the Next Industrial Revolution

02-13-2017

Technology isn’t just a tangible entity. It moves beyond what we can see, feel, and touch. It is ideas and theories. It includes philosophy and risks. In a way, technology itself is like the stock market. Different industries hedge their bets on emerging trends. These trends develop into useful products that change our world.

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2016

One World, One Industry: Strengthening Your Value Proposition to Boost Organization Success

12-16-2016

John Mitchell's new column's title says it all: One World, One Industry. In the coming columns, the IPC president will be covering issues affecting the entire global electronics industry supply chain with specific expertise on global standards, education, advocacy and solutions.

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One World, One Industry: Six Leadership Lessons from 20 Years in the Electronics Industry

11-07-2016

The orchestra conductor is an apt metaphor for the successful leader. Effective leadership often boils down to the ability to inspire others (the symphony) to their best work, while keeping and driving the overall vision of the organization (the musical score).

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One World, One Industry: Voting — A Civic Duty and Industry Opportunity

10-17-2016

On Tuesday, November 8, more than 240 million people in the United States will have the opportunity to go to the polls and vote, make their voices heard in government, and influence the direction of public policy for years to come. Much of the world is closely watching with interest in this major U.S. election.

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