Milestones in the Development of Circuit Technology

 In Aerospace, Automotive, Blog, Complex Interface Assemblies, Design to manufacture, Engineers, eWaste, Flexible Electronics, Haptic Technology, Healthcare, HMI, In2tec News, Membranes, Printed Circuit Board Assemblies, R&D, Sustainability, Trends

This article charts a brief history of the advancement of Circuit Technology, then comes up to date with developments in Sustainable Electronics.

Advancements in circuit technology

  • The history of circuit technology began in the mid-19th century with the invention of the telegraph, which used simple electrical circuits consisting of batteries, wires, and switches to transmit electrical signals over long distances. This was followed by the development of the telephone, which required more complex circuits to transmit voice signals.
  • With the introduction of vacuum tubes, invented in 1904 by John Ambrose Fleming these early circuits allowed for the amplification of electrical signals and was a key component of early radios and televisions.
  • In the 1940s and 1950s, came the invention of the transistor which revolutionised circuit technology. Transistors were smaller, more reliable, and required less power than vacuum tubes, making them ideal for use in electronic devices such as radios, televisions, and computers.
  • The invention of the integrated circuit in 1958 by Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce paved the way for the modern era of circuit technology. Integrated circuits allowed for the creation of complex circuits on a single piece of silicon, leading to the development of microprocessors and the birth of the modern computer age. With the arrival of the integrated circuit in electronics manufacturing using a PCB became mandatory.
  • In the 1980s, the development of surface-mount technology (SMT) enabled even smaller and more compact circuits. Attaching components directly to the surface of a circuit board, rather than inserting them into holes, also increased reliability.

Circuit technology is at the heart of many industries, and forms an integral part of our daily lives, from telecommunications and computing to automotive and medical, through to consumer electronics. Advances in circuit technology are continuing at a rapid pace – with the development of new materials, manufacturing techniques, and design methodologies leading to ever more powerful and compact electronic devices – sustainable development in electronics is critical to industries across the globe.

What does the future hold

At In2tec, with our drive for sustainable electronics, we are pushing for fundamental changes to achieve a circular vision and life extension for flexible electronics, compared to traditional ‘hard’ electronics. Flexible electronics offer inherently different properties in design, form, and materials from which they are manufactured. This in turn presents opportunities to allow circuit boards to be unzipped at their end of life and provide sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions.

Our patented technology allows for components to be populated at low temperatures, saving energy, and easily removed from PCBs using little more than hot water. This ‘unzipping’ process means even complex components can be extracted easily, unstressed, and undamaged from used PCBs and returned for a second-life, driving a circular economy of used parts.

Here at In2tec we are all passionate about what we do, and we continue to work towards our goal – “We Protect the World for Future Generations by Inspiring Sustainable Electronics”. We continue to do this by hiring next-generation thinkers, innovators, and entrepreneurs to make sure we can meet our goal of ceasing landfill ewaste through 100% recycling of substrates, conductive circuits, and electronic components, via ultra-low energy unzipping and second-life usage for constituent parts.

Printed circuit board assemblies (PCBA’s) generally achieve 3-5 % recyclability. It takes significant energy (creating considerable CO2e), effort, and process time to extract the reusable properties and materials of a populated PCB. In turn, this equates to a cost, often too high a cost for this to be of commercial value.

Invariably this means the materials are either buried or burned. We believe ReUSE® Highly Recyclable Electronic Circuit Boards is the answer and the paradigm shift the World is calling for.

Why work with In2tec?

Utilising our ReUSE® Highly Recyclable Electronic Circuit Boards means that components’ usefulness does not have to end when the PCB they are mounted on reaches its end of useful life. These components can be recycled or reused.

The generation of secondary markets in used components means we extend their life beyond discontinued OEM parts, as well as reducing the demand for illegal-market component ‘copies’ – creating a truly circular economy.

Our design philosophy is that nothing is impossible. In2tec has been at the forefront of innovation in Flexible Electronics and Smart HMI for 20+ years. We started our work towards developing truly sustainable electronics in 2007 and since then have continued our path to sustainability.

Incorporating Sustainability into everything we do

‘We design, manufacture, and unzip electronics assemblies, providing full circularity and clean, valid components for reuse.’

Working across industries, we take the needs of every customer into account to create cost-efficient sustainable solutions.

Interested in learning more about our sustainable electronic solutions?

Let us help you achieve your technology wish list. We invite you to put our capabilities, innovation, and experience to the test to benefit you.

Contact us today:

T + 44 (0)1536 419200 (office hours GMT: 8.30am-5.00pm Mon-Thurs; 8.30am-2.30pm Fri


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