IPC to Host Free Webinar on New E-Textiles Standard Activity

by Chris Jorgensen, Director, Technology Transfer

Does your company manufacture or purchase e-textiles materials for use in your products? If so, you will want to attend a free IPC webinar on a new standard being developed by the IPC E-Textiles Materials Subcommittee.

IPC-4931, Requirements for Electronic Textiles (E-Textiles), Conductive Fibers and Conductive Yarns will be the first industry consensus standard for e-textiles materials. It will establish the classification system, qualification and quality conformance requirements and electrical/electronic performance requirements for electronically integrated textiles (e-textiles). It will also cover similar requirements and performance variables for conductive fibers and conductive yarns, which are essential components of e-textiles.

This webinar will provide background on the need for this standard, a report on the subcommittee’s work and additional activities the subcommittee has planned.

Topics to be covered:
• An overview of IPC-4931 and the formation of the E-Textiles Materials Subcommittee
• Key characteristics of e-textiles materials
• Industry test methods for e-textiles and identifying gaps in test methods
• Materials designations
• Publication plan for IPC-4931 and how IPC standards are developed
• How you can shape this standard or develop additional standards

Speakers:
Stephanie Rodgers, Apex Mills — IPC E-Textiles Materials Subcommittee co-chair
Diana Wyman, AATCC – IPC E-Textiles Materials Subcommittee co-chair
Chris Jorgensen, IPC E-Textiles Committee staff liaison

Date and Time:
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM Eastern

To register for Webinar, click here. Registrations will be accepted until October 30.

For more information on Webinar, please contact me, at ChrisJorgensen@ipc.org.

 

European Parliament Approves Amendments to RoHS Directive to Facilitate Secondary Market Operations

On 3 October, the European Parliament approved the review of the scope of the Directive on Restrictions of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS Directive). The Commission, the Parliament and the Council agreed in June on the text in inter-institutional negotiations.

The amendments extend beyond the current 2019 deadline the possibility to resell electronic equipment and spare parts containing prohibited substances, which were put on the market before the respective substances were prohibited.

IPC welcomes the scope review of the RoHS Directive, as it will facilitate repair, replacement of spare parts, refurbishment and reuse of electrical and electronic equipment, such as refurbished medical equipment for instance. The review will remove unnecessary barriers to secondary market operations and foster the transition towards a circular economy.

IPC members will have the opportunity to discuss this and other issues with EU policy makers during the annual IMPACT Europe event on 9-10 October in Brussels. For more information on this event, contact John Hasselmann, vice president of government relations at JohnHasselmann@ipc.org.

 

IPC Welcomes Trump Administration’s Framework on U.S. Tax Code

On September 27, 2017, the framework for tax reform was released, which reflects the agreement reached by the White House and Republican leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. According to the authors of the framework, it is intended to serve as a “template” for the committees of jurisdiction as they develop a legislative proposal.

Some of the highlighted points in the framework related to businesses are included below.

• Top rate of 25% for S corps
• Top rate of 20% for C corps
• Eliminate the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
• Write off the cost of new capital investments for 5 years
• Limit on the deductibility of interest
• Eliminate most tax deductions, but will keep the R&D tax credit
• Transition to a territorial system

IPC has and continues to support:

• a lower corporate tax rate;
• a strengthened R&D tax credit (including an increase to the alternative simplified credit making it 20%); and
• making bonus depreciation permanent.

The full tax reform framework can be viewed here: https://waysandmeansforms.house.gov/uploadedfiles/tax_framework.pdf

The one-page overview of the tax reform framework can be viewed here:
https://waysandmeansforms.house.gov/UploadedFiles/Tax_Framework_1pager.pdf

The IPC statement on the tax reform framework can be viewed here:
IPC Welcomes Trump Administration’s Framework on U.S. Tax Code

EU Launches Consultation on Three RoHS Exemption Requests

The European Union has launched a stakeholder consultation on three new exemption requests. The online stakeholder consultation started on September 26, 2017 and will run for six weeks until November 7, 2017. It covers a request for the renewal of an existing exemption and two requests for new exemptions from the RoHS Directive:
Request 2017-1 “Lead in solder used to make electrical connections to vacuum boards used in Mass Spectrometers. Boards designed to be used periodically under low pressure. 5 years”
Request 2017-2 “Use of lead in welds for soldering of certain printed circuit board assemblies in gas detectors.”
Annex III, 1(g) “Mercury in single – capped (compact) fluorescent lamps for general lighting purposes < 30 W with a lifetime equal or above 20 000 h: 3,5 mg. 5 years (Max)”

IPC’s RoHS Exemptions Task Group will review the requests. IPC members interested in joining this group or providing input should contact Fern Abrams, director of regulatory affairs, at FernAbrams@ipc.org.

New IPC Studies Show World PCB Market Up in 2016 as North American Market Shrinkage Slows

World printed circuit board (PCB) production reached an estimated $58.2 billion in 2016, up 2.2 percent in real terms, while North American PCB production decreased a mere 0.1 percent, according to IPC’s newly published World PCB Production Report for the Year 2016. The North American PCB market also continued its downward trend, but at a slowing rate of just -1.7 percent in 2016, based on data published this week in IPC’s 2017 Annual Report on the North American PCB Industry.

The World PCB Production Report shows that more than half the world’s PCBs based on value are now produced in China, but Taiwanese companies are the leading PCB producers, fabricating most of their PCBs off-shore. India emerged as having the fastest-growing PCB industry in Asia and has joined the top 10 PCB-producing countries in the world as of 2016.

The world report highlighted an abrupt change in the growth trends for rigid PCBs and flexible circuits. Rigid PCB production, which has slowed in recent years, was up slightly in 2016, while the previously growing flex segment decreased. The world PCB market overall is expected to continue experiencing modest growth in 2017.

Developed by a team of the world’s leading PCB industry analysts, the World PCB Production Report is the definitive source of PCB production data. It includes estimates of the value of PCB production in eight product categories in each of the world’s major PCB-producing countries and regions.The report also contains commentary on regional industry trends and historical data on PCB production worldwide, as well as a special report on high-speed data communications contributed by BPA Consulting, Ltd.

The 2017 Annual Report on the North American PCB Industry shows that the military and aerospace market continues to consume more than one-third of PCBs sold and this vertical market continues to grow as a percentage of total PCB sales in the region.

The North American report covers the size and growth of the region’s PCB market by product type, the use of special technologies such as RF and embedded components, and other business metrics including revenue per employee, capacity utilization, inventory turns and lead times for rigid PCB and flexible circuit businesses. It is based on data collected in IPC’s North American PCB Statistical Program, in which the sample of survey participants represent more than 50 percent of the region’s PCB market.

World PCB Production Report for the Year 2016, priced at $475 for IPC members and $950 for nonmembers,and the 2017 Annual Report on the North American PCB Industry, at $450 for IPC members and $900 for nonmembers, are available for immediate download in IPC’s online store. For information on IPC market research reports and services, visit www.ipc.org/market-research-reports and www.ipc.org/IndustryData, or contact IPC’s market research team at marketresearch@ipc.org.

EPA Schedules Webinars on LCSA Inventory Notification Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has scheduled three webinars to assist the regulated community with reporting under the TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Rule, published in the Federal Register on August 11, 2017. This rule requires industry to report chemicals manufactured or imported in the United States over the past 10 years.

Reporting is mandatory for chemical manufacturers and optional for processors. Processors should be aware that following the update of the inventory, it will be illegal to use chemicals not reported to the EPA as active. Chemical users should review EPA’s definition of processor as some chemical uses in manufacturing meet the EPA definition of processing.

Each identical webinar will include an overview of reporting requirements, a demo of the electronic reporting application (Central Data Exchange (CDX), and will provide time for questions and answers.

The webinars are scheduled for 1-3 PM EDT on September 27, 2017, October 25, 2017, and November 29, 2017. Registration for a webinar is not required.

Please visit EPA’s TSCA Inventory web page at https://www.epa.gov/tsca-inventory for information on how to access a webinar.

CPSC Votes to Ban Organohalogen Flame Retardants in Electronics Casings

Today, on September 20, 2017, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted, along party lines, to grant petition CPSC-2015-0022; Petition Requesting Rulemaking on Products Containing Organohalogen Flame Retardants (OFRs). The petition, which was filed by a group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), asks the CPSC to ban the use of organo-halogen flame retardants in several products, including the (outer) plastic casings of electronics.

The commission also voted, again along party lines, to convene a Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (CHAP) on OFRs. CPSC staff will be tasked with moving forward on the rulemaking process to ban OFRs from electronic casings (as well as toys, upholstered furniture, and mattresses). The CHAP will provide additional insight and fill in data gaps to support the rulemaking process.

The commission also voted, along party lines, to publish in the federal register, a notice to alert the public on environmental risks of OFRs and guidance to industry to refrain from adding OFRs in products.

Although the petition and other CPSC actions today do not address the use of flame retardants in electronics components, it is likely that this broad and unprecedented action against the entire class of OFRs will enhance deselection pressures throughout the supply chain.

The vote today follows a September 14 CPSC hearing which included testimony from the electronics industry. View blog item: CPSC Hearing Reviews Petition to Ban Organohalogen Flame Retardants in Electronics Casings.

IPC will continue to follow this issue to inform our members and advocate for their concerns.

EU Commission Launches Stakeholder Consultation on RoHS Exemptions

Today, on September 19, 2017, the European Union (EU) Commission launched a four-week stakeholder consultation on DRAFT Delegated Directives for exemptions:

• 6(a) Lead as an alloying element in steel for machining purposes and in galvanized steel containing up to 0.35% lead by weight
• 6(b) Lead as an alloying element in aluminum containing up to 0.4% lead by weight
• 6(c) Copper alloy containing up to 4% lead by weight
• 7(a) Lead in high melting temperature type solders (i.e. lead-based alloys containing 85% by weight or more lead)
• 7(c)-I Electrical and electronic components containing lead in a glass or ceramic other than dielectric ceramic in capacitors, e.g. piezoelectronic devices, or in a glass or ceramic matrix compound
• 18(b) Lead as activator in the fluorescent power of discharge lamps containing phosphors
• 24 Lead in solders for the soldering to machined through hole discoidal and planar array ceramic multilayer capacitors
• 34 Lead in cermet-based trimmer potentiometer elements

The consultation closes on October 17, 2017.

IPC, in conjunction with an international industry stakeholder group, applied for more than a dozen exemption extension requests under the EU RoHS Directive. The RoHS2 Directive dictates expiration dates for all exemptions granted and several critical to the electronics manufacturing industry were set to expire by July 21, 2016. However, all exemptions for which industry submitted a renewal application will not expire until the EU Commission completes the current ongoing review of the applications.

Throughout the process, IPC and several member companies provided important technical information in order to ensure the extension requests are robust and scientifically sound. IPC reviewed all extension requests and provided important feedback that resulted in credible material submitted to the EU Commission.

IPC’s EHS Committee and RoHS Exemptions Task Force will review the draft delegated acts and develop a response to the stakeholder consultation. IPC member companies are also encouraged to comment directly to EU Commission through their website.

 

CPSC Hearing Reviews Petition to Ban Organohalogen Flame Retardants in Electronics Casings

On Thursday, September 14, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) held a hearing on petition CPSC-2015-0022; Petition Requesting Rulemaking on Products Containing Organohalogen Flame Retardants. The petition was filed by a group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) asking the CPSC to ban the use of organohalogen flame retardants in several products, including the (outer) plastic casings of electronics. The petition does not address the use of flame retardants in electronics components.

Rick Goss, Senior Vice President of Environment and Sustainability at the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) testified at the hearing on behalf of IPC, ITI, and the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). The hearing can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovSTKppR15U, with the presentation of the joint testimony beginning at 2:12.

In joint testimony, the associations requested that the commission follow staff recommendations and deny the petition because it is overly broad and insufficiently justified in its claims, fails to provide the data showing a connection between the exposure to a substance and personal injury or harm from that exposure.

During the hearing, the commissioners posed a number of questions to industry. IPC, CTA and ITA will be working with their members to respond promptly, in advance of the meeting scheduled for September 20.

Skills, Digitalization and Investment at the Heart of the New EU Industrial Strategy

The European Commission today presented its renewed EU Industrial Policy Strategy, which is focused on technological skills, digitalization, and investment in innovation. As announced last week by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in his State of the Union address, the strategy would be used to make European industry “stronger and more competitive … particularly for our manufacturing base and the 32 million workers that form its backbone.”

IPC has long advocated for an ambitious industrial agenda for Europe and welcomes the EU efforts to boost growth and jobs through investment in advanced manufacturing, workforce skills, research and innovation. We are encouraged that the Commission reaffirmed its commitment to reaching the target of 20% of GDP from industry, with an ambitious and realistic timeline.

The strategy puts a strong emphasis on a skilled and talented workforce, which is a priority for IPC. Recruiting the necessary talent is a fundamental concern for the advanced manufacturing industry in Europe, which consists of more than 700,000 enterprises and employs more than 13 million people.

The Commission also recognizes that the future of the industry will be digital. Driving the industrial and digital transformation requires an improved framework and conditions for investment.

Finally, the objectives of the industrial strategy should be incorporated into other relevant policies, including the EU’s low-carbon and circular economy initiatives.

We stand ready to work with the European Commission and other stakeholders to address the short and long-term challenges and turn this vision into concrete actions to strengthen the competitiveness of the EU electronic industry.