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Articles from 2005 In November

More parts suppliers changing numbers

More parts suppliers changing numbers

The percentage of component suppliers that will change part numbers for lead-free versions of their components is rising. According to a survey of 500 semiconductor, passives and electromechanical part manufacturers conducted by SiliconExpert Technologies Inc. – a parts database company in Santa Clara, Calif. – 71 percent of electronics component suppliers globally say they will change their part numbers for components that comply with the European Union’s RoHS directive.

The percentage is up from earlier industry surveys that indicated only about 60 to 65 percent of supplier planned to change part numbers. In November 2004, a survey by Technology Forecasters Inc. found that only 54 percent of suppliers intended to change their part numbers. A more recent survey by the Alameda, Calif. research firm revealed results that were closer to the SiliconExpert survey.

Component distributors has repeatedly called for new part numbers for compliant parts, arguing that returns will be nightmarish if non-compliant and compliant parts carry the same ID number. Many suppliers have balked at changing numbers, countering that keeping the same part number reinforces that view that the part didn’t fundamentally change when it became compliant.

Green materials market set to grow

Green materials market set to grow

As the electronics industry dumps its use of lead, mercury and other hazardous materials, its appetite for clean, green materials is set to increase. A new study published by Business Communications Co. of Norwalk, Conn. finds that the global market for green materials will rise from $6.1 billion in 2005 to $8.7 billion by 2010, showing an annual growth rate of 7.4 percent. These green materials include lead-free solders, lead-free solder coatings, replacements for PBB and PBDE, as well as replacements for hexavalent chromium, cadmium and mercury. All of these substances are banned by the European Union's RoHS directive.

Though the RoHS transition goes by the tag, lead-free, the leading substances in dollar figures are the PBB and PBDE replacements, which accounted for $3.5 billion in sales during 2003, $4.3 billion in 2004, and $4.7 billion in 2005. These replacements account for more than 77 percent of the total market share of green materials that are getting a boost from RoHS. By 2010, PBB and PBDE replacements will account for $6 billion, showing an average growth rate of 5.2 percent. The largest field of application for PBB and PBDE replacements will be in the automotive sector, which accounts for 80 percent of the total sales for this group of materials.

Lead-free solders and solder coatings, represent a smaller portion of the green materials pie, but it's a faster growing portion. Sales for lead-free solders will increase an average 20.1 percent per year, reaching $614.9 million by 2010. Lead-free solder coatings will rise at a faster clip, growing 21.7 percent per year over the coming five years, reaching $1 billion in sales by 2010. Together lead-free solders and lead-free solder coatings account for 20 percent of the green materials pie.

Sales of hexavalent chromium, cadmium and mercury replacements account for 12.5 percent of the green materials market with sales of $107.7 million, $123.6 million and $526.3 million, respectively. Each will grow moderately through the forecast period, reaching a combined $1 billion in sales by 2010.

Much of the sharp increase in the use of green materials will come from the emerging Asian market, where electronic manufacturers are embracing the use of environmentally clean materials, according to the report. The United States and Europe show less pronounced growth rates for green materials through the five-year forecast period.

In cyberspace, leads are still the golden eggs

In snail-mail’s heyday, it was easy to keep track of inquiries. You opened the envelope and you counted them.  Now that e-inquiries have largely replaced snail-mail, tracking and qualifying them in cyberspace isn’t quite as simple. Not only are the internet, e-media and today’s computer tools much faster, most of the inquiries (or click-throughs) are going to your website and not to you.

To track your click-throughs, make sure you get regular reports from the publishers of print and on-line media carrying your advertising.  Add the click-through counts for your lead totals. If your ad appeared in a publisher’s on-line newsletter, check the number of recipients who opened the newsletter and thus were exposed to your ad. The delivery rate indicates a clean and current mailing list, and the open rate shows recipient interest in the newsletter’s subject matter… or editorial vitality, if you will.  Both are measurements of the newsletter’s quality.

How do you convert click-throughs to qualified leads? The place to do that, obviously, is in your ad and on your website. Applying the age-old principle of “You don’t get somethin’ for nothin”, a good approach is to offer them something they can use in their jobs in exchange for registering on your website… ideally, something that is also related to your product. Here are a few incentives that have successfully been used:

  • A white paper, engineering bulletins, data sheets, and/or catalog, or case studies demonstrating your product applications;

  • A product demonstration CD/DVD;

  • Engineering software to help prospects design your products into their applications;

  • E-newsletter subscription offer;

  • CAD-3D engineering drawings of your products;

  • Product samples.

According to a major B2B tabloid’s 30-year advertising inquiry database, nearly 75 percent of ad respondents have an application in mind at the time they inquire, so don’t forget to ask the prospect if he or she would like an application specialist to provide a no-cost engineering review.

You may also want to capture the prospect’s name, title, company name, address, phone and fax numbers, application, and permission to send him or her news about your future new products and applications.

The next step? Get the qualified leads to your salespeople for follow-up and reporting.  Then watch your revenues grow. And, at the risk of stating the obvious, keep the click-throughs flowing with consistent print and on-line advertising, publicity, direct mail (including permission-based e-mail), trade shows,  and other proven marcom tools in your kit. An aggressive marketing communications program is the cyber-goose that lays the golden eggs.

Golden Mouse Trap Sweepstakes Rules

Vote for your Favorite Vendors in the Golden Mousetrap Reader’s Choice Awards
And Be Eligible to Win a $500 Gift Check!


Sweepstakes Rules

1.How to Enter:  You will automatically be entered in the sweepstakes when you complete and submit the Golden Mousetrap Reader’s Choice Award Nominations Form at  You also may enter by sending a postcard with your mailing address to the following address:  Design News Golden Mousetrap Giveaway, Attention K Norris, 225 Wyman St, Waltham MA 02451.  No purchase is necessary to enter or win, and purchase will not affect your odds of winning.  “Limit one (1) entry per person.  Multiple entries will be disqualified.” To be eligible for a drawing, entry must be received by midnight prior to the date of the drawing.  Sponsor assumes no responsibility for late, lost, damaged, or misdirected entries. Entry must be acquired personally, and may not be acquired or accumulated through the use of automated computer scripts or other programming techniques.

2. Eligibility: This is a trade promotion sweepstakes.  Eligibility is limited to persons at least 18 years of age, who are legal residents of the United States or its territories and possessions.  The sweepstakes is void where prohibited or restricted by law and is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations.  Employees (and their immediate families and household members) of Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. (“Sponsor”), its parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies are not eligible. 3.Prizes:  $500 American Express gift check.  All taxes on the prize are the sole responsibility of the winner. 4.Random Drawings:  One (1) winner will be selected by random drawing to take place on January 2, 2006, from all eligible entries received.  Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. 5.Conditions of Participation:  Participants agree to be bound by these rules and all decisions of the sweepstakes judges, whose decisions will be final. By accepting prize, winner grants to Sponsor, its agents and others working on their behalf the right to photograph the winner, and the right to use the winner’s name, picture, likeness and city and state of residence for advertising and marketing purposes, without additional compensation, unless otherwise prohibited by law.  Prize must be claimed within thirty (30) days of first attempted notification or will be forfeited.  Unclaimed prizes will be awarded by subsequent drawings from remaining eligible entries. All entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned.  Sponsor shall not be responsible for registration errors or for lost, late or misdirected mail (including e-mail), or telecommunication or computer hardware or software failures.  If, for any reason, the fairness or integrity of the sweepstakes becomes compromised, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate or modify the sweepstakes, and to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process or the administration of the sweepstakes. 6.Prize Notification: Upon drawing, winner will be notified by telephone and/or email.  Sponsor makes no warranties with regard to the prize. The prize is not transferable and there is no substitution (in cash or otherwise).  Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value in the event of unavailability. 7.Announcement of Winner:  The list of winners will be posted for 60 days after the end date of the sweepstakes at the web site.  8. Sponsor:  The Sponsor of this promotion is Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier, Inc.

The Rules of Marketing

I’m always amused when clients tell me that they think marketing is all a mystery. It’s not. It’s fairly logical. You want to market your message to where the most real prospects are. You want to tell them things that are important and relevant. You want to say it in a way that is different from your competitors. End of marketing lesson.

The seasons moved in and out of the pawnshop heralded by lots of changes to merchandise and windows. In the winter, clothing took a strong lead in the store, with heavy coats and wool pants on all the racks. There were lots of holiday gifts on the shelves. The windows were dressed three or four times starting with Labor Day, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and finally for winter itself.

Spring was the season of hope. The windows were lighter and brighter. Lots of colors filled the store. Different kinds of merchandise peeped through in the spring. Our offering reflected the tastes of our clientele. We carried fishing rods every spring, which were hung straight up and down in a three-sided clothing mirror so that a dozen rods looked like an armada of fishing equipment.

We rarely had enough rods come out of hock to make a decent showing, so Nate bought new rods to fill out the presentation. The new fishing poles were light rods made of a new Plexiglas material. Nate loved to demonstrate the rod by holding the grip in one hand and grabbing the tip with the other. He could bend the rod almost in half.

Willie and I couldn’t wait to make a similar demonstration to a customer. When that day came, it was Willie’s customer. A woman wanted to buy a birthday present for her son. Willie gave a great setup about how the rod is made of a new miracle plastic. Then he demonstrated. "It’s unbreakable," said Willie as he bent it in half.  The rod then burst into a thousand pieces. It didn't just break. It shattered.

Willie was horrified. Nate ran over and took another rod and demonstrated, knowing exactly where to hold it and when to stop bending it. Whether out of amazement or pity, the woman bought the fishing rod.

It was just another day in the pawnshop.

Fishing is a common theme in business books. It is a major theme in my life as well. I love fishing. There's nothing better than to stand in the surf and cast. Although the odds of success are slim, I’ve learned how to improve them. I read a lot about fishing and have talked to dozens of fishermen. I interrogate fishing experts on where and when to fish, and what bait to use.

The astounding lesson I've learned is that the key to success is to fish where the fish are. The big fish need deep water, so surfcasters have to find a place along the beach where the water drops off quickly, but isn't so far offshore that it can't be reached by casting. And, the fish have hours. They are more likely to be close to shore when they’re actively feeding, because that’s where their dinner is: the smaller fish. The bait you use should mimic what they are looking to have for dinner. It's pretty simple.

What makes fishing more interesting is that the fish can't be counted on to follow these guidelines. Fish are notoriously bad readers with very short attention spans. They might congregate in one spot along the shore for years, but winter storms change ocean bottoms, and what was once deep becomes shallow. So, the fish move on to new grounds. Sometimes, the fish change their eating habits and are more attracted to other kinds of bait. Sometimes, the changing seasons change the way the fish go about their business. And, sometimes, the fish just aren't interested because they're getting plenty of food elsewhere from a natural source.

The reason why fishing is such a wonderful metaphor for marketing is that the two are highly analogous. The same rules apply and the same results will occur if you violate them. Real success requires diligence. Your customers are going to change. Environments, habits, and diets change. If your marketing efforts are essentially the same this year as they were last year, you're probably missing some big hits. All of this requires constant attention and intelligence.

Most of us understand the concept of fishing. It's the reality of actually catching fish that sometimes eludes us.

Don't expect results from your marketing efforts unless three factors are lined up: You must be able to actually reach the target customers you are aiming for with a message that is relevant to them at a time when they are willing to take action. If you violate any of these rules, the whole effort will fail. Realize also that customers’ tastes and habits change, so that what worked last time might fail this time. Use research to stay current with the ever-changing tastes of your customers.

Jack Rossin is a marketing consultant who specializes in Presentation Skill Training. The most valuable tool a marketer has are the people in the company who talk to his prospects; Jack teaches them how to speak confidently.  For more information about Jack please visit his web site at, or call at 617-437-7990

Marketing your Investment

Marketing budgets are always stretched thin, so investing in online advertising in ways that bring the best return is always critical. Does the search engine or directory you’re investing in invest in you? How do they market themselves, do they partner with others in the industry to bring more awareness to you and do they bring promotional opportunities to you beyond your ad dollars? Online advertising is an investment like any other and you should expect results beyond just clickthroughs.

How do search engines market themselves to users or potential customers rather than to advertisers? The feel-good loyalty programs most search engines employ to keep in good faith with their advertisers won’t supply you any business leads. Many large search engines rely on a brand name and taglines alone to generate traffic. Is that enough? The full value of a brand needs to be continuously reinforced via advertising online and in relevant print publications in order to maximize visibility to users. Keeping a visible presence via trade shows and public relations are other indicators that your investment is actively being promoted.

Is search engine optimization an activity pursued or just a buzzword to the website you’re advertising with? In this day and age, it’s hard to think that a website would not be actively optimized to take full advantage of the mega traffic generated via MSN, Yahoo! and Google, but it happens. Is the site you’re investing in preventing upstream traffic from major search engines by forcing users to register before searching, or making navigation difficult for the crawlers to index? Do they work with these general purpose search engines to drive additional, qualified traffic to their site and potentially your ad?

Then there are the subtle ease-of-use issues to consider when choosing a site to advertise with. For example, is the site Flash driven (blocked by many adware and spyware –conscious surfers), graphically dense (creates page download problems), or just plain hard to navigate (no explanation needed – we’ve all run into these!)?

Is the search engine actively working with other media and online partner sites to draw qualified traffic to its own site? For example, advertising on an industry-specific search engine that powers several trade journal websites will bring pre-qualified traffic to your ad and can place your ad on a variety of other websites all for no additional cost. Some of these sites may in fact be sites you’re already considering advertising with.

Are there marketing opportunities with the site beyond advertising that you can take advantage of? Some direct marketing promotions that will create more value for your investment are testimonial marketing. Working with you to include a testimonial in outbound user marketing gives you more visibility and can generate more traffic, again to a pre-qualified audience. Some search engines allow you to place a physical catalog and data sheet online, converting them to a keyword-searchable file. Once the conversion has been made, the entire contents of those pieces of collateral are indexed on that search engine and made available for searching by keyword. Updates to the catalog can be made in a matter of days, with a global reach unthinkable with the hardcopy versions. For companies that are prepared to participate in these programs, they offer much value.

Tracking Your Investment

Is there a clear flow of user and advertiser feedback available? A search engine that actively polls visitors for usability, trending and general feedback, and then passes relevant tips on to advertisers can add considerable value to your investment. For example, polling users to discover what important search criteria can add value by highlighting changes in copy, categorization or placement of particular ads. Other valuable data on how visitors use the search engine (general research, specific searches or education) will help you better tailor current and future advertising. An open line of communications regarding general tips on how to optimize your site and maximize traffic is another attribute to look for when deciding which search engines to invest in. Will the search engine offer free marketing and optimization tips you can use to better leverage your advertising investments?

While basing who to invest your online advertising dollars with on brand name alone is the fast and easy way to decide, using this as the sole consideration is a bad idea. Search engines that market your investment will provide much more value, visibility and traffic for your advertising dollars. Whether you choose pay-per-click or an alternative advertising model, asking the right questions can increase your ROI.

About the Author:

Julie Mason is the director of general manager for

Launched in January 2001 is a comprehensive online buyers’ guide and search engine, with more than two million company listings from over 155 countries world wide. is backed by the financial resources of the world wide publishing company Reed Elsevier. With an average of 14 million searches a month, is the leading global search engine for industry-to-industry business. For more information, please contact at 1-800-550-0827, or visit

Flying Without A Flight Plan?

Would you ever get on board an airplane knowing that it had not been checked over carefully, that flying conditions had not been reviewed and that the flight path to your destination had not been clearly charted?

So why do so many companies put their “corporate life” on the line by failing to do the same sort of planning for their business? The development of a 12-18 month integrated marketing communications (IMC) plan ensures that a company invests time analyzing their market position, objectives and sales plans. It means taking a step back and viewing their business from the customer’s perspective—a critically important thing to do in the ever-changing, complex business environment we all compete in.

The preparation and effective implementation of a well-conceived IMC plan will dramatically increase your company’s chances of having a successful year.

Development of a strategic marketing plan:

  • Encourages consideration of new marketing tactics and media.

  • Allows you to be better prepared for the changes occurring in your market, and in your firm.

  • Helps build teamwork, commitment, esprit de corps and share-of-mind.

  • Assists you in determining priorities and timelines.

  • Allows development of proactive initiatives instead of reactive responses.

  • Improves internal and external communications.

  • Tells you what type of resources need to be devoted—to which areas.

  • Helps you gain consensus and “buy in” to your marketing objectives, strategies and tactics.

  • Enables you to demonstrate to the sales organization all of the support they will have to help them accomplish their objectives

  • Helps improve corporate productivity because you are more focused, and your path is clearly charted for the year.

  • Helps you evaluate the results attained through various programs and plans so you can continually upgrade the efficiency/effectiveness of various strategies and tactics with each succeeding part of your program.

With a strategic IMC plan in place, you set your own course, efficiently progressing towards stated objectives. Without one, you are subject to the changing winds of the marketplace—where it is often difficult just to hold on to your present position.

For a copy of the Alexander Marketing Strategic Planning Chart and white paper, go to

Alexander Marketing Services is ranked by B-to-B Magazine as one of the Top 50 agencies in the U.S. They research, plan, design, execute and measure marketing programs for clients, including Dow Chemical, Siemens, ITW, United Technologies, ADP and Emerson. For more information, contact Laurie Brammer at 847-947-7000, [email protected] or visit their website at

Los Alamos licenses CartaBlanca Java simulation development environment

Make something easier to use and, given the need and the opportunity, more people will use it. That’s the assumption behind the decision by Los Alamos National Laboratory ( to license CartaBlanca 2.0, its component-based, simulation and prototyping software for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and various other nonlinear applications.

Time and cost pressures on product development make it beneficial to spread workloads over a wider area so that specialists don’t become bottlenecks. While most simulation tools for complex physics problems are based on legacy code, chiefly C++ and Fortran, CartaBlanca is written entirely in Java. That makes it more accessible to larger numbers of design engineers and developers, suggests Eric Canuteson, a project leader in Los Alamos’ Technology Transfer Division.

Canuteson says LANL scientists especially value CartaBlanca for its ability to model fluid/particle interactions using both particle-in-cell (PIC) and material-point methods. The software can be used to simulate airflow through a turbo booster, heat transfer in a semiconductor, blast effects on buildings, weapon/target interactions, and much more. It has application in aerospace engineering, automotive design, weapon/target interactions, animation and special effects, pharmaceutical process design, and homeland security planning.

LANL used CartaBlanca in its RAVE (Reconfigurable Advanced Visualization Environment) facility to simulate an exploding cylindrical blast container intended for use in disposing of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The project simulated the motion of the broken IED case, the blast wave through the air, and the deformation of the cylinder.

Scientific and engineering simulation projects often involve the modification of existing software to produce new capabilities, and often require ongoing attention from a variety of code developers, according to Canuteson, who stresses the advantages of a “modern” language like Java for producing “developer-friendly” code: CartaBlanca runs on a variety of computers, from PCs and Macs to parallel processing supercomputers. Its graphical interface helps users get up-to-speed quickly, its modular design supports rapid prototyping, its code is easily portable from one machine to another, and users can make use of numerous Java tools and third-party programs.

Canuteson notes that, unlike simulation environments written in C++ or Fortran, CartaBlanca has built-in thread parallelization that simplifies integration into shared-memory and distributed-memory machines. It uses a Jacobian-free, Newton-Krylov (JFNK) method for solving nonlinear fluid equations, and it incorporates true multiphase flow for fluid dynamics applications, allowing for slippage between phases, and multiple momentum equations for each phase. Other features include extensive compiler checking, and integrated unit and regression testing.

CartaBlanca license fees are set at $1,000 per-site in academe. Commercial licenses are priced from $10,000.

A screen capture from a CartaBlanca simulation illustrating a broken dam on a tetrahedral mesh. Simulation problems can be run on unstructured grids built from triangular, quadrilateral, tetrahedral and hexahedral elements. Mesh partitioning files can be used to perform calculations in parallel on shared memory machines. For a larger image, click here

Environmentalists and industry criticize EU chemical bill

Environmentalists and industry criticize EU chemical bill

A new European Union (EU) law has riled the environmental community for being too weak, as well as the chemical industry for being too strong. The Registration, Evaluation and Authorization for Chemical (REACH) was approved by the European Parliament last week by a vote of 407 to 155. Under the law, companies must register up to 30,000 chemicals and provide information on potential hazards.

Environmental groups heralded the bill as an important step, but they regretted that thousands of chemicals were exempted. The European Chemical Industry Council said it was disappointed with elements of the package, claiming the vote reflects a misunderstanding of the substances of concern can be safely handled and used.

It’s not immediately clear how this will affect the electronics industry, though the law is likely to identify hazardous chemicals beyond the RoHS six. The new rules could be in place as early as next year.

Have minimal tolerance? Try Micro

A medical fastener used in a surgical process achieves a tolerance of ±0.0005 in. using the Micro Molding process. “With conventional molding and multiple cavity tooling, cavity-to-cavity and process variability would already push us out of part tolerance,” comments a mold maker at Phillips Plastics, Hudson, WI. “With our Micro Molding technology, we felt comfortable we could hit the tolerances that were required for this part.”

Given the low volumes required for the part and the high cost of materials, Micro Molding offered a low-cost solution. Phillips Plastics’ proprietary process yields a higher percentage of useable parts versus runner compared to conventional molding, tilting economics toward Micro Molding when materials’ prices are high.For that reason, it’s often an ideal candidate for highly demanding medical molding. Another advantage of Micro Molding is that investment in tooling can be substantially less than conventional tooling. In most cases, prototype tooling can also be used for production tooling, assuming there are no design changes. Typical lead-time to sample parts is three to five weeks, depending on part geometry, tolerances and other specials requirements. Minimum sizes for Micro Molding in plastic are 0.002 gram to 0.06 grams and 0.0001 cubic inches to 0.003 cubic inches. In metal, minimum sizes are 0.013 grams to 0.375 grams and 0.0001 cubic inches to 0.003 cubic inches.