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the way i see it the wrap-up continues IPC also broke bread with SMTA by co-locating their fall meeting in conjunction with the SMTAI show. It seemed to work well for both groups. Let's hope for more cooperation and, ultimately, the merger of these groups. A bright spot for me in 2013 was the new Viasystems factory in Anaheim. I liked that. It's good to see what may be a taste of things to come. Let's hope so. Looking ahead What can we expect in 2014? I'm optimistic. It sure seems like the market is ready to roll if politics can stay out of the way. That's the only area of real concern I have. When you look at the raft of new technologies under development, conventional and alternative energy, printed electronics, 3D, new products based on exciting materials like graphene, the U.S. and Europe are in pretty good position to capture serious market share. Those innovations will translate into some type of electronics, which will drive our industry forward. The U.S. now has a pretty solid and reliable energy supply. Huge improvements to the energy infrastructure will keep energy prices relatively stable for years to come—a huge benefit for our manufacturers. This gives companies confidence that the costs of manufacturing will be fairly stable as they expand their businesses., Infrastructure and rule-of-law (IP protection), proximity to customers, and low levels of corruption are advantages we have over most of the developing world. As a result, I think we'll see some surprising on-shoring initiatives in 2014 as companies make the move back to North America. China will continue to lose its luster. Things are beginning to come back into balance. Another change we're starting to see and will continue to see expand in 2014 is the number of talented young people entering the industry. It has been a cry heard for years at industry events: Where are all the young people? How can we get them involved in the industry? Actually, these engineers, product designers, and entrepreneurs have discovered our industry because of printed electronics and 3D printing. They're going to rock our world. They don't have the mindset we all have. They're going to develop the systems to build the electronics of the future, not based on what we know with traditional PCBs but on PE and 3D platforms. So for those of you who've been wondering where all the young people are, ask no more. What will we see from the PE and 3D sectors in 2014? No big gamechangers, really. Just lots more low-cost prototyping systems. In a recent PCB assembly association survey, printed electronics scored highest as the area of greatest interest for its members. Just a couple years ago, PE was hardly on anyone's radar. The link below is an example of the kinds of efforts being made by GenZ (get it, Z axis, third dimension) of circuit manufacturers. Circuit-printing startup reaches 30-day kickstarter fundraising goal in 5 hours And to help us get a glimpse of the kind of energy going into this, Oak Ridge National Lab is giving 35,000 3D printers to U.S. schools. Again, the lack of young people in our industry won't be an issue for long. It's just not going to be the industry we're used to. Read more about this initiative here. Tremendous opportunity awaits all those who grab it, and 2014 holds a lot of promise for our industry. You have to open your eyes, though, to see it. I'll leave you with a few famous quotes on the topic. PCBDESIGN The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work. —Thomas A. Edison A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. —Winston Churchill Ray Rasmussen is the publisher and chief editor for IConnect007 publications. He has worked in the industry since 1978 and is the former publisher and chief editor of CircuiTree Magazine. To read past columns, or to contact Rasmussen, click here. January 2014 • The PCB Design Magazine 25

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