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2007 iNEMI Roadmap to be Released to Industry March 5.

Highlights of the roadmap will be previewed at IPC Printed Circuits Expo, APEX and the Designers Summit this Week

LOS ANGELES -- The 2007 iNEMI Roadmap, which will be available to industry next month, charts the technology and infrastructure needs of the electronics manufacturing industry through 2017. In addition to anticipating the development of specific technologies, this latest edition of the roadmap discusses market convergence, miniaturization, harmonization of environmental requirements, migration of manufacturing and R&D, reliability, printed electronics and more.

iNEMI (the International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative), will preview the roadmap later this week in a conference keynote at the IPC Printed Circuits Expo, APEX and the Designers Summit in Los Angeles. This session, scheduled for 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 22, will provide highlights of roadmap conclusions, followed by a more in-depth discussion of printed electronics.

"The electronics industry has enjoyed sustained growth over the last two years and projections for the future are positive," says Jim McElroy, CEO of iNEMI. "Technology improvements continue to be made so that new products and capabilities are enabled in a variety of market segments such as consumer electronics, medical electronics, and safety/security. The future is bright for those who can adapt and take advantage of technology to deliver best-in-class products at the right time and at the right cost."

A few key highlights of the 2007 iNEMI Roadmap are discussed below (also download table of highlights at http://thor.inemi.org/webdownload/newsroom/PR/2007/RM_Highlights.pdf).

Organic & Printed Electronics. New to this edition of the roadmap is a chapter on organic and printed electronics. Applications such as wearable electronics and item-level RFID tags are driving this emerging technology. Printed electronics uses graphic arts-like printing processes to fabricate electronic components. Taking advantage of new functional electronic inks, this novel approach to electronics manufacturing has the potential to dramatically reduce cost and complexity while significantly increasing throughput.

For applications that don't require the speed and density of today's silicon-based technologies, the potential benefits are significant and could help develop totally new markets for electronics. Flexible displays, lighting, sensors, RFID and smart packaging are some of the products that show early promise for printed electronics.

The technology has matured in recent years, migrating from the lab to prototype production, and a supply chain is beginning to emerge. The iNEMI roadmap provides an overview of the most critical technologies necessary for commercial launch and market diffusion of organic and printed electronics-based products. To the best of iNEMI's knowledge, this is the first industry roadmap of this technology.

Market Convergence. As electronic products become more ubiquitous in society, the lines between product sectors are blurring. This convergence of market segments puts increasing demands on performance, cost and harmonization of interface standards. For example, consumer products are now finding their way into automobiles and medical applications where specifications have traditionally been quite different.

Miniaturization. Portability remains a key driver of technology as the need for miniaturization demands breakthroughs in materials properties, packaging and assembly technologies. Since these applications can lead to significant volumes, the supply base is motivated to invest in these areas while other segments are less able to attract investment to meet their specific performance and reliability requirements.

Migration. The migration of capabilities is continuing and includes not only manufacturing functions but also R&D. This migration facilitates the development of emerging markets and can provide solutions that are fast to market due to better understanding of local needs. This trend also impacts the role of the developed regions as they take on more of a manufacturing/design integration function (at least for some segments).

Environmental Harmonization. Proliferation of environmental requirements continues around the globe. Unfortunately, harmonization of the myriad requirements remains a significant challenge for industry. Industry is showing increased interest in developing science-based environmental solutions in advance of new regulations so that the end results can be achieved with lower risk and greater predictability.

While consumer electronics have made a full conversion to Pb-free, the high-reliability sectors must address a number of knowledge gaps before conversion can be undertaken. On Tuesday, February 20, at 1:30 p.m., iNEMI will host a forum to discuss progress on closing these remaining gaps and will preview an effort to create a comprehensive plan of the remaining challenges. (This session is one of the free forums of the Printed Circuits Expo, APEX and the Designers Summit.)

Reliability. Over the last 40 years, the electronics industry has made significant changes to the materials and processes that are used in manufacturing. Yet the reliability methodology has remained essentially the same. Are these procedures still allowing us to accurately predict the reliability performance of our products or is it time to take a fresh look at this area? The time required to run traditional reliability evaluations is also an issue with today's accelerated product lifecycles. This subject will be discussed in more detail at the IPC Reliability Summit (co-sponsored by iNEMI) on Friday, February 23 (see press release on the Summit).

Gap Analysis Meetings

The iNEMI roadmap compares technology trends with anticipated product needs, and identifies "gaps" and "showstoppers" that are potential threats to industry advancements. Three of the iNEMI Technology Integration Groups (TIGs) will hold gap analysis meetings during this week's conference. These meetings are intended to stimulate in-depth discussions among individuals from various segments of the industry and will cover several of the roadmap chapters: board assembly; test, inspection and measurement; organic and ceramic substrates; and environmentally conscious electronics. The TIGs will use information from these gap analysis meetings to develop action plans to help close the gaps identified by the roadmapping process, and to develop the iNEMI Research Priorities, which will be published later this year.

About the iNEMI Roadmap

Since 1994, iNEMI has mapped the future manufacturing technology needs of the global electronics industry to identify key technology and infrastructure developments needed to ensure continued growth. The roadmap has become recognized as an important tool for defining the "state of the art" in the electronics industry as well as identifying emerging and disruptive technologies. It also helps set priorities for research and development, and is used by industry as well as by government funding agencies and university-based research programs.

This latest edition of the iNEMI Roadmap involved more people from more countries than any roadmap to date. iNEMI broadened international input by holding a series of regional workshops in North American, Asia and Europe. As a result, more than 500 individuals from 265 companies, consortia, government agencies and universities located in 17 countries on four continents contributed to this roadmap, providing a much more global perspective than any previous roadmap.

The 2007 Roadmap covers 19 technology and infrastructure areas and five product sectors. Since the iNEMI roadmap is published every two years, and each edition looks 10 years out, there is always an eight-year overlap with the previous edition. Each new edition of the roadmap confirms trends identified in the previous edition and/or identifies new trends, shifts, emerging technologies, etc.

How to Order the iNEMI Roadmap

The 2007 iNEMI Roadmap will be available to industry on CD-ROM, beginning March 5. CDs can be purchased online ($250 for non-members) at http://www.inemi.org/cms/roadmapping/roadmaporder.html

The roadmap's 68-page Executive Summary provides a brief summary of the information covered in each of the 24 chapters. The summary is available for $50 (at the URL listed above). For anyone who buys the Executive Summary and then decides to buy the complete roadmap, purchase price of the summary will be applied against the price of the roadmap.

About iNEMI

The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative's mission is to identify and close technology gaps, which includes the development and integration of the electronics industry supply infrastructure. Based in Herndon, Va., this industry-led consortium is made up of approximately 70 manufacturers, suppliers, industry associations and consortia, government agencies and universities. iNEMI roadmaps the needs of the electronics industry, identifies gaps in the technology infrastructure, establishes implementation projects to eliminate these gaps (both business and technical), and stimulates standards activities to speed the introduction of new technologies. The consortium also works with government agencies, universities and other funding agencies to set priorities for future industry needs and R&D initiatives. For additional information about iNEMI, visit http://www.iNEMI.org.
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