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Showing posts for August 2016


30 August 2016

New Anti-Counterfeit Measures for the U.S DoD

...issued by the U.S. DoD

The United States Department of Defence (DoD) has recently published a new set of guidelines to help prevent counterfeit electronic components from entering their supply chains and ending up in military equipment.

Published earlier this month, the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) will look to create a more resilient purchasing process that will ultimately benefit both the U.S. government and their contractors.

The move is in response to research that uncovered just how much of an issue counterfeit parts posed to the DoD. Five years ago, it was announced that around one million potential fake components had entered the military’s supply chain. Additionally, a market research firm found that the entire sector had reported in excess of 12m separate instances of counterfeiting.

Forged goods pose a number of risks to the security and reliability of equipment, especially for those found within the defence and aerospace sectors where a failure could compromise national security and cost lives. Aside from the safety aspects, it has been estimated that one instance of counterfeiting could push production lines back by a year and cost in excess of $2m to resolve.

The new DFARS guidelines will set out mandatory requirements on how to purchase, manage and dispose of all electronic components.

The document will also cover what steps need to be undertaken when reporting a suspected instance of counterfeiting.

One of the biggest takeaways from the report is that all contractors will have to acquire their components from a list of trusted suppliers. Despite calls to the contrary, this means that small businesses and purchases from ‘off the shelf’ retailers will not be allowed.

This clause also relates to the purchase of obsolete and end-of-life parts, due in part to that these hard-to-find components are a known entry point for forged products.

As well as issuing new guidelines, the DoD is in the process of undertaking a comprehensive study on the state of the microelectronics industry, the results of which will be made available in due course.


26 August 2016

'Invisible' Electronics - Bond gadget or scientific breakthrough?

Die Another Day is a fairly middle-of-the-road affair that features all the usual tropes and scenes associated with the pre-Craig approach to James Bond films. However, in one memorable moment, Pierce Brosnan’s 007 activates a cloaking ability that renders his very expensive Aston Martin invisible.

At the time that the film was released, such a notion was certainly only reserved for the realms of grandiose espionage stories and science-fiction tales set in the outer space. But as the years passed and technology advances, things that were fanciful at best become possible….

According to the Russian media, scientists have designed and are currently testing a kind of material that can help render military equipment and electronics ‘invisible’ to enemy weapon systems.

The firm that has come up with this apparent breakthrough is the St. Petersberg-based company Roselectronics that specialises in producing parts for military and civilian satellites.

“The main idea of the development is to create coverage that reduces radar visibility of the object both on the visible and microwave spectrums,” Roselectronics’ Georgy Medovinkov told Russia Today.

The material and technology used in the cloth’s fibre are unique in the sense that it can absorb radio-electronic signals and ‘interfere with the distribution of electronic traces’.

Whether or not the material is capable of disrupting electro-optical, infra-red or laser guidance systems is up for debate, but it could work against just one type of sensor.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ‘invisibility cloak’ was developed at the behest of the Russian Defence Ministry which wanted to help secure and protect its communication equipment.

However, aside from being designed for use in conflict zones, the cloth’s creators believe that it could have numerous other practical uses.

“Certain equipment which negatively influences a person’s health is used in medicine,” Medovinkov said, referring to processes such as chemotherapy and x-rays that utilise various levels of radiation.

“Our material allows the minimization of this negative effect or to completely remove it,” he added.

Tests are apparently underway.

Is this science fiction or science fact?


26 August 2016

Renesas to acquire Intersil?

 

Renesas Electronics Corporation, the Japanese semiconductor manufacturer, is believed to be interested in acquiring the United States-based chipmaker Intersil in a deal worth £2.3bn ($3bn/¥300bn).

An agreement could be announced in the near future, with one well-placed industry source telling the press that the deal could be rubber stamped by the end of the month.

If it goes through, Renesas’ move to incorporate a fellow industry giant would be the latest instance in a trend of consolidation amongst the world’s biggest chipmakers.

Over the past couple of months, Renesas has undergone something of a restructuring process and appears to be now looking to the future by bolstering its presence in the automotive chip industry. With car manufacturers driving advancements in the field of fuel-efficiency and automated driving, it is an area that is expected to become increasingly lucrative in the years to come.

Intersil, which sells power-saving semiconductors, has experience in the automotive and industrial sectors and recorded close to £400m in sales during 2015.

In an official statement, Renesas said that it was looking at various options at the moment but no final decision had been made.

At the time of writing, nobody from Intersil had commented on the rumour

Last year, Hidetoshi Shibata, Renesas’ Chief Financial Officer, told Reuters that the company had set aside billions of dollars to fund a flurry of acquisitions.


05 August 2016

Analog Devices to purchase Linear Technology

“Growth has been hard to come by in the industry over the past several years,” said Analog Devices CEO Vincent Roche.

“Those who have the balances sheets are using them.”

Analog Devices (ADI) are certainly making the most of their balance sheets after a deal was announced that will see the American multinational semiconductor company purchase Linear Technology for around £11 billion.

The combined company will keep Analog’s name and the transaction is expected to be completed within the year.

“Our shared focus on engineering excellence and our highly complementary portfolios of industry-leading products will enable us to solve our customers’ biggest and most complex challenges,” said Vincent Roche once news of the acquisition broke.

“We are creating an unparalleled innovation and support partner…and I am very excited about what this acquisition means for our customers, our employees, and our industry.”

Roche will continue on as CEO of the combined group which is expected to have revenues in the region of £3.7bn, making it the second largest company in its sector behind Texas Instruments.


03 August 2016

Newly Discovered Conductive Materials Could Deliver Efficient Electronics

The discovery that interfacing two particular oxide-based materials makes them more conducive could result in our mobile devices becoming a lot more efficient.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Utah made the discovery and have printed their findings in the scientific journal, APL Materials, published by the American Institute of Physics.

The team, led by the University of Utah’s Berardi Sensale-Rodriquez and Bharat Jalan from the University of Minnesota, found that when strontium titanate (STO) and neodymium titanate (NTO) interact, they bond in a particular way that is beneficial to conducting electricity.

What makes this finding all the more interesting is that both STO and NTO are known to be insulators.

Yet when these two substances connect, the number of electrons produce is nearly a hundred times larger than what has previously been documented in existing semiconductors.

This innovation could greatly improve the performance of power transistors and, as a result, the batteries that are found in mobile phones, tablets and larger items such as televisions and refrigerators.

Current battery technologies rely on a material called gallium nitrate, but that material has been researched extensively and is unlikely to be made any more efficient than it is today.

Speaking about the discovery, Jalan said: “When I look at the future, I see that we can perhaps improve conductivity by an order of magnitude through optimising.

“We are bringing the possibility of high power, low energy oxide electronics closer to reality.”

Aside from more efficient batteries, the team from Minnesota and Utah’s findings could also herald even smaller devices.


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