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The European Angle
By Pete Starkey
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Review: The 34th Annual Symposium of the Institute of Circuit Technology, June 2008
The 34th Annual Symposium of the Institute of Circuit Technology, held June 3, 2008, had a distinctly Scottish flavor. The venue for the symposium was Tweed Horizons Centre on the Scottish border and the keynote speaker was Dr. Peter Hughes OBE, Chief Executive of Scottish Engineering, who spoke with infectious enthusiasm about the opportunities that exist in Scotland's electronics industry.
Keynote speaker, Dr. Peter Hughes OBE, wows the crowd with his strumstick.Hughes reminded the audience of the significance of the Scottish manufacturing industry and its contribution to exports--after all, not many people realize that electronics is a bigger business than whisky. The key to the future success of the industry is dependent on the education and encouragement of young people. In recent years, an "obsession with qualifications" has led to a disparity between what Scottish employers need and the education and skills training young people could access. A university education was not an essential requirement--the actual requirement was a system for developing skills that met everyone's objectives and equipped individuals with abilities flexible enough to meet the needs of today, but also respond to the demands of tomorrow. Many routes were available for young people to fulfil potential--the strategic expansion of apprenticeship being a practical means of filling the gap in skills among Scotland's future workforce.
ICT Chairman, Steve Payne, was confident that the UK will continue to play an important role in the innovation, design and fabrication of printed circuit boards; from flexible circuits to the most complex multilayer structures and emerging technologies, such as printed electronics. He was pleased to report that membership numbers have grown steadily throughout the last 12 months, and an encouraging sign is that the Institute is getting "younger" in terms of average age of members.
Symposium attendees attend one of the many technical presentaions offered during the one-day event.An excellent program of technical presentations was offered at the symposium: Carl O'Roche, of Quantum CAD, spoke about data management in electronic design and manufacture; Jonathan Smuga, from Napier University, reported on a project to develop conductive polymer composites for EMI shielding applications; Alan Colquhoun, Principal DfM Engineer at BAE Systems Hillend, used a worked example to demonstrate what could be achieved by a DfM/DfT integrated project team to improve the manufacturability and testability of a design; Uwe Altmann, from Orbotech, gave an update on the capabilities of laser direct imaging systems; Francesca Stern, of BPA, gave her presentation on the methodology of forecasting by remote control from her office; and Mike Osmond, of Intrasys Design, illustrated his explanation of the principles of design for excellence with a live demonstration of how a CAD engineer interacts with a real design.
A detailed review of presentations given during the symposium can be found at http://www.instct.org/.
Outside the lecture theater, delegates made the most of their time at the event by visiting the tabletop exhibition area and networking with their peers. All around, the symposium was a very successful, well-balanced and well-attended event.
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