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PCB | June 05, 2008

34th Annual Symposium of the Institute<br>of Circuit Technology, UK June 2008

Pete Starkey, ICT Council, has written a report from the 34th Annual Symposium of the Institute of Circuit Technology which had a distinctly Scottish flavour this year.
Venue was Tweed Horizons in the Scottish borders, and keynote speaker was Dr Peter Hughes OBE, Chief Executive of Scottish Engineering, who spoke with infectious enthusiasm of the opportunities that exist in industry in Scotland. He reminded the audience of the significance of Scottish manufacturing industry and its contribution to exports. How many people realised that electronics is bigger business than whisky? The key to the future success of industry lay in education and encouragement of young people. In recent years an “obsession with qualifications” had led to a disparity between what Scottish employers needed and what education and skills training youngsters could access. A university education was not an essential; the actual requirement was for a system for developing skills that met everyone’s objectives and equipped individuals with abilities flexible enough to meet the needs of today and respond to the demands of tomorrow. Many routes were available for young people to fulfil their potential, the strategic expansion of apprenticeship being a practical means of filling the skills gap amongst Scotland’s future workforce.

ICT Chairman Steve Payne was confident that the UK would 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 had grown steadily through the last 12 months, and an encouraging demographic was that Institute is getting “younger” in terms of average age of members.

There was an excellent programme of technical presentations: 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 in improving 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 the presentations can be found on the Institute of Circuit Technology website www.instct.org

Outside of the lecture theatre, delegates made the most of the opportunity to visit the tabletop exhibition area and to network with their peers. All round, a very successful, well-balanced and well attended event.

Pete Starkey
ICT Council
June 2008

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