Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Outreach Spirit

One of the best parts of our industry is the spirit of cooperation, camaraderie, and outreach that seems to embody all that’s best in human nature. Even in rough financial times people seem to find the time to give of their expertise. At every major tradeshow our magazines present a panel discussion to add to the program, for instance, and there are always companies willing to step up and participate in our programs, from the package-to-board assembly one this year at SMTAI, to the A-Line assembly set-up and discussion at IPC Midwest, to the board to package challenges at IPC Midwest, to the future panel on EMS business issues at APEX and many more. As a magazine, we have no commercial reason to participate, but we do so because it spreads the knowledge in another word format, other than written or digital. For the many companies sharing their experts, their equipment, their time, it’s good exposure for them, but at the same time they’re going out of their normal work pattern and contributing.

I recently returned from a cooperative effort with MEPTEC that helped them celebrate their 30th anniversary with a program titled, Packaging Developments and Innovations: From System Design to Integrated Delivery. We recruited the keynote speaker, Glenn Daves, director of packaging technology, Freescale, and many of the other presenters. My session, “Package-to-Board Assembly Trends,” featured Lee Smith, VP of business development at Amkor, who talked about challenging applications driving package innovations; Adrian Murphy, product engineering manager at STATS ChipPAC, who presented on flip chip packaging trends and opportunities; and Gheorghe Pascariu, business development manager at Unovis, who talked about high-speed placement of wafer-level devices using SMT equipment. Approximately 140 people attended this day-long seminar in San Jose with four sessions, tabletop exhibits and a keynote luncheon. Every one of us learned about more than just his or her own segment of the industry, and the common sharing enriched us all. JoAnn Stromberg of the SMTA was in the audience as a goodwill boost to MEPTEC to help celebrate the 30th year of MEPTEC’s existence and to pick up ideas between organizations. At the evening, end of day reception, local visitors came who couldn’t make the many day-long educational sessions. Everyone left with a book, a CD, some business cards, a few new friends, and a little more knowledge.

At times when traveling to conferences in China, Europe, or Japan, landing in impressive airports that are clean, modern, and organized, riding on their state-of-the-art fast trains, I wonder why some of our airports seem to be so broken down, out of date, along with our transportation infrastructure. Perhaps our helping hands and active intelligence should reach inward to fix what’s wrong right here by working on the “grid” energy supply structure. The same spirit of outreach which our industry embodies can also be applied to the problems at hand: renewable energy, transportation infrastructure, healthcare, environment protection, child care and family support and so many other necessary basics. We can do this.

One electronics company claims, “We make things smarter.” But it’s not just knowing what to do, it’s the basic nature of wanting to contribute, wanting to share and apply the knowledge that improves the world around us that matters. If we are ever to recover the dream of democracy and capitalism, we must first apply the knowledge that we have to hard work, education, and the desire to leave behind a better life for those who follow. The next year may be a tough one for the whole world economically, but I have no doubt that we can face it with renewed determination, intelligence, hard work, and still keep the spirit of sharing and caring for one another intact.

Gail Flower, editor-in-chief

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