The European Union has delivered a new set of environmental guidelines for the electronics industry. The Directive on the Eco-design of Energy-using Products plops down a new set of rules guiding the entire lifecycle of an electronic product. While the directive is not currently a legal requirement, many believe individual EU countries will adopt it as law in coming months and years.
The directive offers guidelines on everything from design and manufacturing to energy consumption and final disposal at the end of the product’s life. The goal is to make the manufacturer adopt eco-correct design and manufacturing practices. The directive is part of the EU’s larger-scope Thematic Strategy on the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources, a 25-year game-plan to revamp products to help create a cleaner environment.
Since RoHS and WEEE started grabbing headlines last year, industry experts have warned that these first two directives were only the beginning. EU’s taking the lead in what will probably become a decades-long march to a greener – and more regulated – electronics industry.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.