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The incoming Level VI specification of the International Energy Efficiency Marking Protocol for External Power Supplies raises the bar yet again. OEMs need to understand these key specifications.

Could Industry 4.0 change forever the way in which manufacturers operate?

Industry 4.0 – or the Industrial Internet of Things – is on the verge of radically changing the way in which manufacturers operate. The approach is expected to pave the way towards a future in which smart factories, intelligent machines and networked processes are brought together to encourage greater manufacturing productivity, flexibility and profitability.

Companies should take a more holistic approach to product innovation

A desirable product that answers real needs and is intuitive to use is likely to generate more revenue for your business. That may seem obvious, but many companies continue to be driven by technology, rather than taking a more holistic approach to product innovation. These businesses typically end up adding more clever gadgets, apps or functionality, rather than focusing on the needs of their potential customers.

Eye testing technology also detects diseases

Getting your eyes examined is a recommended procedure nowadays; not only to determine whether or not your eyesight is up to scratch, but also to help in the detection and diagnosis of a number of conditions. On a recent visit, I was asked by the optician whether I’d had a cholesterol test lately because she could see deposits in the arteries at the back of my eye.

Redefining automotive HMIs using advanced optoelectronics

There are a vast number of multimedia, communication, air conditioning, telematics and navigation utilities now being built into in the average car. All of these, of course, need efficient control mechanisms. Automobile manufacturers have, in recent years, placed far greater importance on the implementation of highly intuitive human machine interfaces (HMIs) that can address the expanding scope of functionality that drivers need to deal with, while ensuring that they are still able to concentrate fully on the road ahead. As a result interest is growing in HMIs that are capable of supporting touch-less operation.

Minimising costs for wire-to-board connections

Wire-to-board connections incur high costs when handling large quantities in mass markets. Using the right connection technology, however, can cut costs significantly and it is often worth considering using tried-and-tested technologies that enable cables and circuit boards to be connected at little cost.

The demands placed upon frequency products manufacturers have never been greater

A critical parameter for electronic circuits in many applications is low jitter performance, due to its influence on data transfer. Whilst all the components in the overall circuit contribute to the jitter, the timing component has the biggest single impact. Quartz-based frequency products have been used for decades as they offer a highly stable frequency over a wide operating temperature range and, despite growing competition from silicon and MEMS-based products, they continue to provide excellent jitter performance.

Passives power ahead in defence applications

The materials and technologies being used to manufacture components such as capacitors, resistors and power supplies are changing and providing designers with components that are capable of delivering higher performance and greater stability.

High profile prosecution forces counterfeit components into the spotlight

Peter Picone is currently awaiting sentencing in the US for conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit military goods. A lengthy prison sentence is expected. The fall out relating to this case is not limited to the US military, since companies worldwide have sourced components through Picone's companies Epic International Electronics and, previously, Tytronix.

The computing power in a smartphone is set to enable a new level of intelligent assistance

When we have a serious conversation with a close friend, we depend on the fact that they know a lot about us, which enables them to anticipate what we might say and do in particular circumstances. And that means they can give us useful advice. If the proponents of the emerging field of anticipatory computing (AC) are right, that is exactly what mobile devices can now do – and will do much more of very soon.

Is your IP on show?

A trade show is a highly effective platform to raise awareness of your new product, discuss collaborative work within your technology or sector, as well as an ideal opportunity to gain inspiration, secure funding and seek out advice. Be cautious, however, that lack of IP planning doesn't mean losing more than you stand to gain in a competitive marketplace.

Monetising innovation

Electronics continues to find itself integrating deeper and deeper into the lives of consumers, and the ubiquity of smartphones, electric cars, entertainment systems, and energy-efficient homes and lighting should be creating a boom time for the industry. Indeed, it is hard to find products where the electronics is not now firmly the glue that makes everything work and come alive.

The focus is on exports, but will smaller UK companies be able to take advantage?

The UK has always had the reputation of being a trading nation, yet a quick look at the balance of payments show that imports continue to dominate exports; in fact, it's 30 years since the balance of trade was positive. In May 2015, the value of exports was £25.8billion, while imports were worth £32.8bn – a £7bn trade gap. The top five trading partners were Germany, the US, China, the Netherlands and France.

Is the UK electronics industry 'on the up'?

It's a decade since the Electronics Innovation and Growth Team's report painted the picture of a fairly invisible fragmented UK electronics industry with a lack of confidence. Those 10 years have seen significant change, but change needs to be continuous.

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