IPC E-Textiles Standards Committee Seeks Comments on Draft of New E-Textiles Standard; Participants Needed to Join Subcommittee to Develop E-Textiles Connectors Guideline

By Chris Jorgensen, director, technology transfer

The IPC E-Textiles Materials Subcommittee is collecting comments on the first sections of IPC-4931, Requirements for Electronic Textiles (E-Textiles), Conductive Fibers and Conductive Yarns. This standard will establish the classification system, qualification and quality conformance requirements and electrical/electronic performance requirements for electronically integrated textiles (e-textiles). It also covers similar requirements and performance variables for conductive fibers and conductive yarns, that are essential components of e-textiles.
E-textiles included in this standard:

• Woven textiles
• Knitted textiles
• Nonwoven textiles
• Laminated textiles
• Braided textiles
• Embroidered textiles
• Printed textiles

The subcommittee specifically seeks comments on the first sections of the standard. These sections are important because they lay out the specific types of textiles and their components that the standard will cover. Additionally, the group wants industry input on the key performance characteristics the standard should include for these materials as well as the industry test methods that should be used to test for these characteristics.

The subcommittee is collecting comments through Friday, February 16, and commenting is open to anyone. You do not need to be a member of IPC or to pay any fees to review and comment.
E-mail me, at ChrisJorgensen@ipc.org to request the documents for comment and an IPC comment form.

Subcommittee Meeting to Discuss Comments
You are invited to attend the IPC D-72 E-Textiles Materials Subcommittee meeting, which will take place Thursday, March 1 during IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego. The specific start and end times for the meeting have not been set yet, but plan on a full-day session.
There is no cost to attend the meeting if you register ahead of time. Visit http://www.ipcapexexpo.org for more information.

New Subcommittee Forming to Develop Guideline for E-Textiles Connectors
Several companies in the e-textiles industry have approached IPC with interest in developing a guideline on e-textiles connections. This is a very new activity, but based on interest, IPC should be forming a subcommittee to break ground on this new document in early 2018. If you have interest in this topic and would like to join the subcommittee roster, e-mail me at ChrisJorgensen@ipc.org.

Mark Your Calendar for IPC E-Textiles 2018
Mark your calendar for September 13, 2018. IPC E-Textiles 2018 will bring together the e-textiles supply chain for a full day of technical presentations, hands-on product demonstrations and networking. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from and interact with innovators from the e-textiles community. Plan to arrive a day early for standards meetings on September 12.

For more information on IPC E-Textiles 2018, or if you have interest in speaking or showcasing your products, e-mail me at ChrisJorgensen@ipc.org.

IPC Applauds Congress on Passing the Tax Cuts and Job Act

IPC applauds Congress for passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which received its final stamp of approval from the House today, following Senate approval yesterday. The bill now heads to President Trump for his signature, which is expected within days.

“IPC congratulates Congress for its action in passing comprehensive tax reform,” said John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO. “The former tax code was overly complex and not conducive to U.S. global competitiveness. IPC believes this reform will promote competitiveness and innovation in the U.S. electronics manufacturing industry, and it will have spillover benefits to the rest of the world, as well. We look forward to helping our members understand the changes, and continuing our advocacy work in support of policies that encourage broad-based economic growth.”

Several provisions in the bill were actively supported by IPC. Among those, the bill lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent; allows full and immediate expensing of capital investments placed in service between September 27, 2017 and January 1, 2023; and safeguards the R&D tax credit. The bill also allows many small businesses that are organized as “pass through” companies to claim a 20 percent deduction for the non-wage portion of pass-through income.

IPC Supports Historic Tax Reform Bill

BANNOCKBURN, Ill., USA, December 19, 2017 – IPC – Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced its support for the conference report on H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which is under consideration in the U.S. House and Senate.

Final votes in each chamber are expected this week and could happen as soon as today.

Several measures supported by IPC are included in the conference report. The final bill lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent; allows full and immediate expensing of capital investments placed in service between September 27, 2017 and January 1, 2023; and safeguards the R&D tax credit. The bill also allows many small businesses that are organized as “pass through” companies to claim a 20 percent deduction for the non-wage portion of pass-through income.

“IPC applauds Congress for addressing tax reform with a bill that will strengthen the economy by promoting growth and investment,” said John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO. “We have advocated, on behalf of our members, for a tax reform package that lowers the corporate tax rate while keeping incentives for investment and growth, and this bill accomplishes that goal. We urge the Senate and House to pass it and the President to sign it into law.”

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About IPC

IPC (www.IPC.org) is a global industry association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 4,300 member companies which represent all facets of the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $2 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; Brussels, Belgium; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore and New Delhi, India; Bangkok, Thailand; and Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Beijing, China.

New EU Measures to Better Enforce Intellectual Property Rights

The European Commission published on 29 November the EU IP package, which aims to promote a balanced enforcement of intellectual property (IP) rights and protect supply chains against IP infringement threats.

It is estimated that IPR-intensive sectors account for around 42 percent of EU GDP, generate 38 percent of all jobs, and contribute to as much as 90 percent of EU exports.

The evaluation by the European Commission has shown that the 2004 Directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRED) has proved a relevant tool in fighting IPR abuse, but its measures, procedures and remedies were not being applied consistently across the Member States, resulting in different levels of protection within the EU. Therefore, a new guidance published by the Commission aims at clarifying these interpretation issues, which will increase legal certainty for all stakeholders and facilitate civil enforcement across the EU. Moreover, the Commission calls on the Member States to step up their efforts to provide for effective and predictable civil redress against IP infringements – this would benefit in particular, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by facilitating their access to justice. Member States are also encouraged to step up their efforts by boosting judicial training, systematically publishing judgements on IP cases and encouraging alternative dispute resolution tools.

The new package includes a commitment by the Commission to promote due diligence in supply chains. Companies are increasingly confronted with cases of counterfeit products (such as, for instance, counterfeit electronic parts) infiltrating their supply chains. This is in part due to the emergence of new technologies, which have helped infringers improve their counterfeiting techniques, as well as to the increasing complexity of supply chains, which makes it often difficult for companies, SMEs in particular, to monitor their suppliers and sub-suppliers. The Commission plans to explore the potential of new technologies such as blockchain and encourage the use of existing accreditation processes to introduce IP compliance schemes.

Finally, the Commission promises to step up efforts to reduce IP abuses in third countries. In particular, they plan to create a watch-list of countries that engage in, or facilitate, substantial IPR infringement, and work with customs authorities to stop counterfeit products at the EU’s external borders.

IPC continues to promote strong intellectual property protection and strives to prevent counterfeit products in the supply chain through our standards initiatives and advocacy efforts. Consequently, we welcome the Commission’s commitment to better enforcement of IPRs.

If you would like to learn more about the new EU Intellectual Property package or share your comments, please contact me, at KenSchramko@ipc.org.

IPC Releases G Revisions of Two Widely Used Standards, IPC-A-610 and IPC J-STD-001

IPC has released the G revisions of the two most widely used standards in the electronic industry, IPC-J-STD-001, Requirements of Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies, and IPC-A-610, Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies. These two documents are on a three-year renewal cycle, keeping pace with the ever-changing technology within the electronics industry.

Often used as companion documents, IPC J-STD-001G and IPC-A 610G each has a unique purpose. IPC-A-610G remains as the visual quality acceptance standard for post assembly products used in today’s electronics industry. IPC J-STD-001G continues to be the materials and process requirements document critical for use during manufacturing. Each standard has significant changes and updates that keep pace with the changes within the industry. Some of these changes include updated criteria for both through hole and surface mount in IPC-A-610. Other changes include replacement of the “Space Shuttle Symbol” with the “International Space Station Symbol,” and updates to the general and product assurance sections of IPC J-STD-001.

An IPC first was reached with the release of the G revisions for IPC-A-610 and IPC J-STD-001. The IPC training and certification team, with exceptional support from the master IPC trainer (MIT) and certified IPC trainer (CIT) Beta teams, delivered updated training and certification materials. Kris Roberson, IPC manager of certification and training products and portfolio products, and his beta teams in Europe and the United States worked to deliver the training and certification materials at the same time as the release of the G revisions. Companies can now train their employees to the latest G revision of the standards.

In addition, the redline documents for IPC-A-610G and IPC J-STD-001G are available. By delivering the redline documents at the release of the new revision, the users of the standards can see what changes were made immediately.

Translations of the G revisions will be released in the coming months. For more information on IPC J-STD-001G, IPC-A-610G, the redline documents and training and certification materials, visit www.IPC.org/onlinestore.

California Adds Three Chemicals to the Prop 65 List

On October 27, 2017, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) added N,N‑dimethylformamide, 2‑mercaptobenzothiazole, and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) to the list of chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer for purposes of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65).

Under Prop 65, companies are required to warn consumers of potential exposure to substances which cause cancer or reproductive harm. TBBPA is widely used as a flame retardant in printed circuit boards (PCBs). In PCBs TBBPA is used reactively, which means it is reacted into the resins and is not chemically available.

The basis for the listing of N,N‑dimethylformamide, 2‑mercaptobenzothiazole, and tetrabromobisphenol A was described in a public notice published in the June 30, 2017, issue of the California Regulatory Notice Register (Register 2017, No. 26-Z).

EU Chemicals Agency Explains Reporting Requirements for Articles

On November 2, 2017, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) hosted a webinar explaining the communication and notification obligations that EU importers, producers and suppliers of products may have when their articles contain Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs). The webinar which included a discussion of communication and notification duties for complex objects and the pilot enforcement project, can be viewed here.

On June 28, 2017, ECHA published a comprehensive update to its guidance on requirements for substances in articles. The updated guidance includes new examples in line with the judgement of the Court of Justice on September 10, 2015, which further clarified the scope of the obligations. According to the ruling, the legal obligations also apply to articles that are present in complex products – for example, a component of a car or a washing machine.

Tax Reform on the Move in Washington, D.C.

By Ken Schramko, government relations director

Comprehensive tax reform is on the move in the U.S. Congress.

On Thursday, November 2, Republican leaders in the U.S. House unveiled a comprehensive tax reform proposal and signaled plans to seek approval in the full House by Thanksgiving. Senate Republicans also are crafting a bill, which they aim to move to the floor by early December. Congressional Republicans and President Trump are vowing to complete tax reform by Christmas.

The package released by the House addresses four top IPC priorities. The bill would:
• Permanently reduce the corporate tax rate to 20 percent;
• Allow for immediate 100 percent expensing of new equipment through January 1, 2023;
• Preserve the R&D tax credit; and
• Reduce the top pass-through rate to 25 percent, but with new rules designed to prevent abuse by high-earning individuals who form themselves into corporations to get a tax cut.

Other provisions that could be of interest to IPC members include:
• Business interest expense would be allowed for businesses with average gross receipts of $25 million or less;
• The repatriation tax on earnings and profits comprising cash or cash equivalents would be 12 percent, higher than originally proposed, while remaining earnings and profits would be taxed at 5 percent;
• The estate tax exemption would be doubled at first, and then the tax would be repealed after six years; and
• The state and local tax (SALT) deduction would be eliminated except for property taxes (up to $10,000).

The bill text is here (https://waysandmeansforms.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bill_text.pdf), and a section-by-section summary is here: https://waysandmeansforms.house.gov/uploadedfiles/tax_cuts_and_jobs_act_section_by_section_hr1.pdf?niReferrerLink=homepageHero.

House committee action is scheduled to begin on Monday, November 6. The “markup” session is likely to last the entire week as members of the House Ways and Means Committee are given a chance to offer amendments that could alter the bill’s language.

IPC remains optimistic in the effort to reform the U.S. tax code, with a goal of making the United States more congenial to the electronics manufacturing ecosystem. We will continue to work with our champions on Capitol Hill to advocate for IPC’s priorities in an effort to have them reflected in the final legislation.

If you have questions or comments about tax reform, or if you’d like to learn more about IPC’s government relations efforts and how your company can get involved, please contact me at KenSchramko@ipc.org.

 

Brexit: Potential Impact on the Electronics Industry

Brexit will have a big impact on the electronics industry. The so called “phase one” of the negotiations between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) is ongoing, with the two parts trying to reach an agreement on the terms of the exit of the UK from the bloc. In December, we are expecting the negotiators to move on to “phase-two,” which is the crucial discussion on the future EU/UK relationship, including trade arrangements.

With this in mind, IPC has sought the views of its European members on the key issues of concern for them. Electronics has benefitted substantially from the possibility to move components and articles across borders without restrictions and concerns over the imposition of customs checks or any measure that might delay the movement of goods across borders are key concerns for our members. In addition, there have been concerns over the possibility of products moving between the EU and the UK having tariffs imposed on them. Finally, to a lesser extent, some IPC members have voiced concern over possible restrictions in the access of highly skilled labor, which could make the recruitment of the necessary staff more difficult for the sector.

Brexit was discussed with key EU policy makers during this year’s IMPACT Europe event in Brussels, where our members’ concerns were communicated to officials. View discussion paper on the potential impact of Brexit on IPC members.

IPC members are invited to share their feedback on this document and any other thoughts and concerns they might have on Brexit with Ken Schramko, IPC’s director of government relations.

EU Circular Economy Initiatives — Possible Impact on Electronics Waste Management, Reuse and Recycling

The European Union (EU) is currently discussing new legislative and non-legislative initiatives aimed at establishing a Circular Economy. Their objective is to improve waste management, recycling, and reuse in Europe, in order to minimize the environmental impact of products, including electronics. These initiatives, once adopted, are likely to impact the electronics industry in different areas, including Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), spare parts availability, chemicals’ authorization and information requirements.

Having a proportionate and smart environmental regulation is one of the key principles guiding IPC in its global advocacy policy. For this reason, IPC is following the current debate on Circular Economy, in order to identify the possible impact on the industry. If you would like to know more about the status of the discussions and their possible consequences on the electronics industry, view the IPC issue brief.

If you have any questions, please contact me at FernAbrams@ipc.org.