Printed circuitry

Nomination of first Chairman for IEC TC 119

By Philippa Martin-King

April 1 2012 saw the start of the term of office of the IEC's newest TC Officer, the Chairman of TC (Technical Committee) 119: Printed electronics. Increasing demand for competitive methods to produce low-cost high-performance electronics makes printing an attractive solution with enormous potential.

Alan Hodgson, Chairman IEC TC 119: Printed electronics. Alan Hodgson, Chairman IEC TC 119: Printed electronics.

First term of office in a new IEC TC

On 1 April 2012 Alan Hodgson began his first term of office as Chairman of the IEC’s most recently formed committee, TC 119: Printed electronics. This committee was formally approved by SMB (Standardization Management Board) at the end of 2011 following the proposal submitted by the Korean NC (National Committee).

New field of standardization

Until now, there has been no other official organization devoted specifically to the field of printed electronics. Increasingly these are being used to produce low cost electrical and electronic devices; they also offer an economical manufacturing solution for flexible substrates. It is a technical area that, before the advent of TC 119, was covered by a number of other IEC TCs. Each of them was responsible for a section from within their own specific areas – electronics assembly, design automation, multimedia, display devices and nanotechnology – but none had an entire overview.

The role of TC 119 is to facilitate the rollout and industrialization of printed electronics. First the committee aims to set down formally the standardized terminology of electronic printing methods applicable worldwide. Taking a consensus-based approach to this international standardization work ensures that the technology can then be deployed on a global level with a minimum of investment. The scope of the committee covers standardization work on typifying the relevant materials, characterizing equipment, setting down test methods, reliability and repeatability, and any of the ensuing processes, paying due regard to the fields of health, safety and the environment.

Obtaining consensus on electronic printing standards

Heading the consensus work involved in agreeing to International Standards on all electronic printing aspects is a British former technical executive of a world leading imaging company. During the 22 years he worked for Ilford Imaging, Alan Hodgson held a mix of technical and commercial posts, working in R&D (research and development) as well as Marketing and Project Management functions. He has dealt with all aspects of photo printing technology, in particular that of inkjet, and led the group conducting comparative evaluations on printing heads, fluids and substrates. Hodgson has a BSc in chemistry from UMIST (the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology), UK (United Kingdom), where he specialized in the dyestuff chemistry that was later used in inkjet inks. Later he followed this with a PhD in Instrumentation where he focused on radio frequency electronics applied to spectroscopy in chemistry and a postgraduate diploma in marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Having spent time working in optics and inkjet as an independent consultant for companies that ranged from multinationals to small start-ups, today Hodgson works as a Technical Development Manager for 3M. He plays leadership roles in the Royal Photographic Society, IOP (the Institute of Physics) and IS&T (Society for Imaging Science and Technology) where he particularly enjoys presenting their work on printed electronics and digital fabrication to non-technical audiences.

Alan Hodgson, Chairman IEC TC 119: Printed electronics. Alan Hodgson, Chairman IEC TC 119: Printed electronics.
The future of lightweight electronics: printing. The future of lightweight electronics: printing.
Printing electronics makes it possible to use incredibly light, flexible substrates. Printing electronics makes it possible to use incredibly light, flexible substrates.