Engineering is about applying science to improve people's lives. Designing and producing new electronic products is surely a core part of the discipline. Yet as engineers we often focus on a small, possibly intellectually stimulating technical aspect of the product rather than concentrating on making it; and we are comfortable with mathematical calculations that give right, or wrong, answers.
Unfortunately, real electronic products involve a variety of specifications that are less amenable to rigorous calculation. For instance, what does the user want? Can the product be made at a price the customer will pay? The history of British engineering is littered with examples of excellent ideas, applied with real ingenuity, that have failed as products in the marketplace because they did not address the requirements of the customer or production.
This myopia is reflected, too, in the subjects usually covered by journals. On the whole they focus on research and detail rather than on issues of design or production. The Journal of Electronics Manufacturing, by contrast, provides a forum for papers associated with the manufacture of electronic products. This makes it one of the few channels available for dissemination of new ideas in this essential area. It aims to publish "quality technical papers associated with the manufacture and assembly of circuit boards, semiconductors and other components, and the integration of these into products. Related subjects in materials, opto-electronics and design are covered and important issues in business and management within the electronics industry are addressed."
An issue typically contains seven refereed papers, plus conference reports and book reviews. The range of subjects reflects the eclectic nature of the design and production of real products. Recent papers have covered the environment and recycling, work scheduling methodologies, the modelling of technology trends, cooling techniques, mechanical issues of solder reflow, new production technologies and reliability studies - all subjects of immediate relevance to production engineering and not readily found elsewhere.
The papers come from a wide range of countries and encompass academic and industrial authors. Many contain mathematical models and experimental results rather than purely descriptive material. They often get down to the nitty-gritty of manufacturing and are therefore accompanied by photographs or case studies of manufacturing processes. Of particular note, given the rapid developments in this field, is the time between submission and publication - generally less than six months.
The Journal of Electronics Manufacturing is of good quality and fills an important gap in the range of subjects covered by other electronics publications. It provides an international forum for industrial and academic workers in the field of production engineering.
James A. S. Angus is senior lecturer in electronic engineering, University of York.
Journal of Electronics Manufacturing (four times a year)
Editor - David J. Williams
ISBN - ISSN 0960 3131
Publisher - World Scientific
Price - DM 552 (institutions) DM 331 (individuals)
Pages - -