Volume 2, Issue No. 6 Wednesday, June 14, 2000
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Book Review
Reviewed by Bob Willis, Electronic Presentation Services

Buy It at Amazon.com
Title: Green Electronics/Green Bottom Line
Editor: Lee H. Goldberg
Publisher: Newnes
ISBN: 0750699930
Price: US$ 44.95
Pages: 272

"Buy it now, it's a good value for the money and practical in approach. If you need to justify it to your boss, read on!"

Lead-Free assembly and soldering is covered in one chapter and also featured in the appendix section. As one of the most well known Green issues in our industry the subject of lead-free is reasonably well detailed in the space available. It provides a practical examination of the subject from one of the major players, Nortel. This alone should guarantee good sales of the paperback. The Nortel conclusion is that the lead-free process is viable with existing equipment and that the tin/copper alloy provides a reliable alternative to tin/lead. The Nortel USA program complements what has been said from the IDEALS project in Europe, in which Nortel was a major contributor.

Having conducted experiments myself with disassembling parts it was interesting to read a chapter specifically on this issue. The Brunel University team outlined the projects they conducted during the late 1900's specifically focusing on materials and fixings. They demonstrate how feasible it is to recycle each of the products under test illustrating this with off the shelf consumer products. It was interesting to note some of the product suppliers and the importance they have put on the whole issue. A practical chapter again worth the read to see which product won on speed of disassembly.

Two other chapters specifically examine the legislation, although each chapter has input on the value or shortcomings of Government standards. One of the main issues is the ability to return products at end of life. Unfortunately some countries do not have the infrastructure in place to make this easy. Some regional trials have demonstrated that this will be a major problem and costly to the industry as a whole and who will pay the user. Often legislation is not fully thought through and many of the practical issues are ignored. Its also interesting that Newnes, the publisher, also has complementary titles on ISO 14001, the environmental stand which may be read in conjunction with this title.

Selection of the materials used to produce products for the market place is the key to success in a green environment. A discussion on the selection of plastics examines the cost, usability and recycalability. Again, the question is asked, "Do we have companies who can handle the amount of possible waste and the effect on the environment with the additional energy required?"

The book is well worth the small cost, in fact, the book price could have been higher based on its timely appearance. The only small criticism is that it could have been better illustrated. Many authors and contributors seem to forget the value of pictures to support their text. There is inevitably some repetition across the chapters but that is not a bad thing to push home a point. A final nice touch, which is generally never done in textbooks, is the provision of contact details. When books use multiple authors providing contact details is invaluable to the reader to get further information or explanation of important points raised by the reader.

This book review was written by Bob Willis, a process engineering consultant based in England who produces book reviews for Circuits Assembly, On-Line magazine, and features many multimedia titles on his own Web site www.bobwillis.co.uk.




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