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August 24, 2010

Mtg: What’s in Your Electronic Product, and Why Should a Product Safety Engineer be Concerned?

by @ 4:47 pm. Filed under ALL, BioEngineering, Communications, Computers/Software, Electronics Design, Engineering Mgmt, Semiconductors

TUESDAY September 28, 2010
SCV Product Safety Engineering Chapter
Speaker: Rick Row, Consultant
Time: Optional dinner at 5:30 PM; Presentation at 7:00 PM
Cost: no-host dinner at El Torito Mexican Restaurant; no cost for presentation
Place: Dinner at El Torito Mexican Restaurant, 2950 Lakeside Drive, Santa Clara; Meeting at Applied Materials, Bowers Café, 3090 Bowers Ave, Santa Clara
RSVP: not required

Three trends make mineral sourcing an issue of potentially compelling interest to product safety engineers.? First, many more minerals are used today in manufacturing electronics than just a couple of decades ago.? For example, Intel estimates that, whereas computer chips contained 11 mineral-derived elements in the 1980s, potentially up to 60 elements will be used in coming years.? Second, the downstream manufacturer is being held increasingly accountable for the traceability and regulation of materials in his product.? Such traceability has commonly been non-existent for many complex electronic products.? Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall St. Reform and Consumer Protection Act, signed into law on July 21, 2010, will require U.S. public companies to disclosure the use of â??conflict minerals,??? such as tantalum from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in manufacturing their products; and over 60 percent of tantalum used in the U.S. is used in capacitors.? This law imposes a social responsibility on manufacturers, and adds to a growing international pattern of laws and regulations with environmental and public health and safety objectives.? Finally, concern is growing in some quarters about the availability, pricing, and sourcing of minerals (some of which are difficult to replace in certain electronic applications) as global demand rises, the grade of mineral deposits decline over time, and competitors such as China threaten to â??lock-up??? supplies of rare earth minerals.? Because earlier material concerns have risen through the need to comply with EHS regulations such as the RoHS, WEEE, and REACH directives in the European Union, product safety engineers are as well-placed as any professionals in the electronics industry to take on a key company-wide coordinating role to help their companies and industry remain profitable and resilient in the face of these trends.

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