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TOYKO – Expanded significantly from last year’s edition, Nepcon World Tokyo used both the massive East and West Halls at the Tokyo Big Sight convention center, in part to accommodate the arrival of a major fiber optics wing. Even better: The halls were packed with visitors all three days.

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SAN JOSE – North American-based semiconductor equipment manufacturers saw orders slip 18% year-over-year in December, the SEMI trade group said today.

For the month, manufacturers posted $1.23 billion in orders, up 9% over November.

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TRENTON, NJ -- The governor of New Jersey this week signed a law banning electronics devices from state garbage cans and landfills after Jan. 1, 2009.

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NATICK, MA -- Machine vision equipment OEM Cognex Corp. has named Dr. Makoto Inoue president of Cognex K.K., the company’s Japanese subsidiary, responsible for sales, marketing, engineering and technical support in Japan. He will oversee five offices and more than 100 employees.

He replaces Hiro Ohgusu, who joined Cognex in 1990 and who remains on Cognex K. K.'s board of directors.

He reports to Eric Ceyrolle, executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing.

Dr. Inoue spent the previous 30 years with Komatsu Ltd., a manufacturer of industrial machinery and equipment, most recently as CEO and president of Komatsu Electronics Inc. 
WASHINGTON – National Association of Manufacturers’ president and CEO John Engler called this week's National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commissions’ recommendations for funding the nation’s infrastructure network an “excellent platform to begin discussing how to improve the U.S. transportation system.”

After nearly two years of nationwide hearings, the 12-member commission issued the report analyzing the needs of U.S. surface infrastructure over the next 30 years. The report offered recommendations to address urban congestion, rural access, project delivery and freight needs.

“Modernizing our nation’s infrastructure system is a top priority of manufacturers,” Engler said. “We depend on the ability to move goods throughout the country efficiently yet face transportation bottlenecks that cost industry nearly $8 billion a year.

"The commission reached a consensus on the clear need to increase investment in our nation’s transportation system to lessen these bottlenecks,” he said. “While there are bound to be differences among commissioners over the level or source of funding, these differences do not diminish the compelling case for additional investment.”

Congress will begin discussing reauthorizing funding for the surface transportation program this week with Chairman James Oberstar’s (D-MN) hearing on this report in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“Congress should look at mix of investment sources from all levels of government – federal and state – as well as public-private partnerships,” Engler said. “The time is now to work together to find a solution to this complex problem,” he said. “The U.S. will soon be facing a competitive disadvantage if we don’t develop a national plan to improve the quality of our infrastructure system like our international trading partners.”

The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission’s recommendations are available at transportationfortomorrow.org.
MULINO, OR – Sunstone Circuits has released a factory certified add-on that enforces the PWB manufacturer's capabilities interactively inside CadSoft’s Eagle PCB Layout tool.

“With the DFM Add-On, Eagle PCB users can now design with more confidence that their PCB will be manufacturable,” said Sunstone CEO Terry Heilman in a statement.

The add-on leverages the CadSoft's design rule checking engine with a complement of Sunstone-specific rules. The tool, Sunstone says, will help eliminate errors early in the design process and cut the time to build a design.

The Sunstone add-on is offered as a complimentary service and can be downloaded at sunstone.com/pcb-resources/Downloads.aspx or cadsoft.de/download.htm (in the miscellaneous downloads section).

 
ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA -- Flextronics is in negotiations to construct a plant here, and a deal could be in place by next month, according to published reports.

CNews, citing the local department for economic development, said the EMS firm plans to invest up to $50 million in the facility, which would build TVs, monitors and laptops.

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GLEN ALLEN, VA – Signage manufactured using printed and organic electronics will generate $2.5 billion by 2015, according to analyst NanoMarkets.
 
Electrophoretic displays, electrochromic displays, cholesteric liquid crystal, field-emission displays, OLEDs, electroluminescent materials and emissive carbon nanotube technology will impact a variety of signage markets ranging from large outdoor billboards to point-of-sale labels, says NanoMarkets. This will offer major opportunities to manufacturers of OLEDs and paper-like displays, as well as the materials, equipment and printing companies that support them.

Conventional LCD technology is under pressure from electrophoretic, electrochromic and cholesteric LCD technology in the point-of-purchase display business. These technologies bring the advantages of flexibility, readability in bright sunlight and especially low power consumption, according to the research firm.
 
Thirty-five million electronic shelf labels are expected to ship in 2008, and by 2015, NanoMarkets projects the printed and organic electronic POP displays business will reach $1.4 billion in revenues.

NanoMarkets projects the market for organic and printable electronics enabled billboards and large advertising displays will reach $320 million by 2015. Reflective displays technologies are challenging high brightness LEDs in large area advertising displays. Proponents say such displays make for an easier electronic retrofit for traditional, reflective, hardcopy signs because such signs are usually situated in well-lighted areas. Power benefits are often as much as a 5:1 advantage over inorganic LEDs, says NanoMarkets.

NanoMarkets estimates the market for OLED signage will grow to around $303 million by 2015. At a time when the OLED industry is struggling with active matrix technology, signage offers an attractive alternative market for backlighting and actual displays. Printed OLED backlights are thin, lightweight, bright, and relatively efficient. They could be the successor to the EL lamp if viable encapsulation technology can be brought to bear and materials and manufacturing costs reduced. OLEDs also offer the essential wide-color spectrum needed for advertising displays where superb printed color graphics are the norm.
MANASSAS, VA –Zestron is continuing its expansion in anticipation of sustained demand for cleaning materials.
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FOSTER CITY, CA – PLM software provider Arena Solutions has named Craig Livingston chief executive officer. He succeeds Michael Topolovac, company cofounder, who remains on the company’s board of directors.
 
Livingston previously served as VP and GM of Agile’s SME Solutions division.
SAN JOSE – Joseph Fjelstad, president of Verdant Electronics, will keynote Meptec’s 4th Annual Thermal Management symposium. 
 
This one-day technical event will be held Feb. 28 in San Jose.
 
Fjelstad will trace the history of thermal management across the various stages of electronics and at different hierarchical levels, reviewing some of the innovative ways thermal management engineers have responded to the challenges over time in his presentation, Beating the Heat – Dealing with the Thermal Challenge: Past, Present and Future. The presentation will conclude with a look at some of the new and prospective materials and methods that the thermal challenge might be addressed in the future.
 
To register, visit www.meptec.org.
 
SHANGHAI — “China is an important and growing manufacturing hub in the global electronics industry, and we are making a concerted effort to increase our presence and consortial activities here in order to serve the needs of our members who are already running significant operations in this region, and also to help those fast-growing Chinese companies to become international players by providing well-integrated global solutions.”

So said International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative chairman Nasser Grayeli, vice president, technology and manufacturing of Intel, as the trade group celebrated the grand opening of its Shanghai office.


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