Hale Telescope takes first photos, January 26, 1949

January 26, 2015 in Industry News

The Hale Telescope was the brainchild of astronomer George Ellery Hale.

He secured funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, and construction began in 1935, but the first official photos weren’t taken by the telescope until January 1949. Under direction of Edwin Hubble, the telescope designed for photographic work captured Hubble’s Variable Nebula (NGC 2261) in the constellation Monoceros from the prime focus observing cage.


The Hale Telescope’s first offical photos captured Hubble’s Variable Nebula. Source: Palomar/Caltech

Research didn’t begin at the Hale Telescope until November 1949, 21 years into the project, but the 200-inch telescope is still in use, aiding in astronomical research including solar system studies, the search for extrasolar planets, stellar population and evolution analysis, and the characterization of remote galaxies. The Hale is known for its use of many pioneering technologies, such as vapor deposited aluminum and low thermal expansion glass.

The Hale Telescope dome is seen here surrounded by star trails. Source: Palomar/Caltech

Located at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory, the telescope was the largest aperture optical telescope until the BTA-6 was built in 1976, and second largest until the Keck 1 was completed in 1993. It is a reflector, a telescope whose primary optical element is a curved mirror, so there are no lenses in the telescope itself.

The Hale’s primary mirror is a 200-inch in diameter Pyrex disk that weighs 14.5 tons and is concave and covered with a thin layer of aluminum. The primary mirror, with an area of about 31,000 square inches, acts as a giant pupil that collects light from the universe.


The Hale’s 200-inch mirror is recoated approximately every two years. Source: Palomar/Caltech

The telescope has been used to correct the distance estimate of the Andromeda Galaxy, which effectively doubled the size of the universe, gain a new understanding of galaxy formation and stellar evolution, and discover quasars located several billion light-years away, which are among the most distant astronomical bodies ever observed.

Tramonto Circuits Achieves 92.6% Overall On Time Delivery in 2014

Tramonto Circuits Achieves 92.6% Overall On Time Delivery in 2014

January 26, 2015 in Press Release

Tramonto Circuits is pleased to announce that overall On Time Delivery (OTD) in 2014 reached 92.6%. This key performance indicator confirms Tramonto Circuits’ commitment to improvement and customer requirements.

Motivated by a company poll that showed customer’s top two requirements for their printed circuit board suppliers were “quality” and “on time delivery” Tramonto Circuits set aggressive goals and included them as Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for 2014. The goal set for OTD was 95% overall and the goal for RMA requests was twelve or less.

The overall OTD reached was 92.6% for 2014 and a total of 9 RMA’s were recorded. These numbers, although lofty, show the commitment the company has to its customers. “We will not rest on these results however” said John Talbot President. “We have already set 95% OTD goals again for 2015 and strive to improve our RMA numbers as well”. Our staff is proud of the accomplishment and stand ready to improve in the coming year.”

ABOUT Tramonto Circuits

The mission of Tramonto Circuits is “To consistently provide its customers with high quality electronic products and services that meet or exceed their expectations.” A manufacturer of flexible and rigid printed circuits, Tramonto Circuits provides electronic circuits and assemblies to Original Equipment Manufacturers worldwide.

Tramonto Circuits is based in St. Paul, Minnesota. More information is available at www.tramontocircuits.com.

IPC: N.A. PCB Order Growth Bolsters Book-to-Bill Ratio

IPC: N.A. PCB Order Growth Bolsters Book-to-Bill Ratio

December 24, 2014 in Industry News

IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries® has announced the November findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Strong year-on-year order growth kept the PCB book-to-bill ratio high, while sales remained slightly below last year.

Total North American PCB shipments decreased 3.4% in November 2014 from November 2013, bringing year-to-date shipment growth to -1.2%. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments were down 5.0%.

PCB bookings increased by 12.4% compared to November 2013, improving the year-to-date order growth rate to -0.1%. Order growth declined 25.5% in November compared to the previous month when orders were unusually strong.

The North American PCB book-to-bill ratio edged up to 1.06 in November.

“Although PCB sales in North American continued below last year’s level in November, orders again came in above last year,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “Strong orders in the fourth quarter have driven the book-to-bill ratio into positive territory, which offers hope that year-on-year PCB sales growth will turn positive in 2015,” she added.

Detailed Data Available

The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed November data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available the week of January 5, 2015. The monthly report presents detailed findings on rigid PCB and flexible circuit sales and orders, including separate rigid and flex book-to-bill ratios, military and medical market growth, demand for prototypes, and other timely data. This report is available free to current participants in IPC’s PCB Statistical Program and by subscription to others. More information about this report can be found here.

Interpreting the Data

The book-to-bill ratios are calculated by dividing the value of orders booked over the past three months by the value of sales billed during the same period from companies in IPC’s survey sample. A ratio of more than 1.00 suggests that current demand is ahead of supply, which is a positive indicator for sales growth over the next three to six months. A ratio of less than 1.00 indicates the reverse.

Year-on-year and year-to-date growth rates provide the most meaningful view of industry growth. Month-to-month comparisons should be made with caution as they reflect seasonal effects and short-term volatility. Because bookings tend to be more volatile than shipments, changes in the book-to-bill ratios from month to month might not be significant unless a trend of more than three consecutive months is apparent. It is also important to consider changes in both bookings and shipments to understand what is driving changes in the book-to-bill ratio.

IPC’s monthly PCB industry statistics are based on data provided by a representative sample of both rigid PCB and flexible circuit manufacturers selling in the U.S. and Canada. IPC publishes the PCB book-to-bill ratio at the end of each month. Statistics for the current month are available in the last week of the following month.

Cautious Optimism for Manufacturing Industry in 2015

December 15, 2014 in Industry News
Tuesday, December 09, 2014 | PR Newswire

Economic growth in the United States will continue in 2015, say the nation’s purchasing and supply management executives in their December 2014 Semiannual Economic Forecast. Expectations are for a continuation of the economic recovery that began in mid-2009, as indicated in the monthly ISM® Report On Business®. The Manufacturing sector is optimistic about growth in 2015, with revenues expected to increase in 15 manufacturing industries, and the Non-Manufacturing sector also predicts that 15 of its industries will see higher revenues. Capital expenditures, a major driver in the U.S. economy, are expected to increase by 3.7% in the Manufacturing sector and by 3.8% in the Non-Manufacturing sector. Manufacturing expects that its employment base will grow by 1.5%, while Non-Manufacturing expects employment growth of 1.7%.

These projections are part of the forecast issued by the Business Survey Committee of the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®). The forecast was released today by Bradley J. Holcomb, CPSM, CPSD, chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, and by Anthony S. Nieves, CPSM, C.P.M., CFPM, chair of the ISM Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

Manufacturing Summary

Expectations for 2015 are positive as 67% of survey respondents expect revenues to be greater in 2015 than in 2014. The panel of purchasing and supply executives expects a 5.6% net increase in overall revenues for 2015, compared to a 3.6% increase reported for 2014 over 2013 revenues. The 15 manufacturing industries expecting revenue improvement in 2015 over 2014, listed in order, are: Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Furniture & Related Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Machinery; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Paper Products; Chemical Products; Transportation Equipment; Textile Mills; Primary Metals; Plastics & Rubber Products; and Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components.

“Manufacturing purchasing and supply executives expect to see continued growth in 2015. They are optimistic about their overall business prospects for the first half of 2015, and are similarly optimistic about the second half of 2015,” said Holcomb. “Manufacturing experienced 18 consecutive months of growth from June 2013 through November 2014, as reported in the monthly Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®, and our forecast calls for a continuation of growth in 2015, building on the momentum reported in 2014. Respondents expect raw materials pricing pressures in 2015 to be low, similar to levels experienced in 2014, and expect their margins will improve in 2015. Manufacturers are also predicting growth in both exports and imports in 2015 over 2014.”

In the manufacturing sector, respondents report operating at 83.7% of their normal capacity, up 1.4 percentage points from the 82.3% reported in April 2014. Purchasing and supply executives predict that capital expenditures will increase by 3.7% in 2015 over 2014, compared to a 14.7% increase reported for 2014 over 2013. Manufacturers have an expectation that employment in the sector will increase by 1.5% in 2015, while labor and benefit costs are expected to increase an average of 3.2%. Respondents also expect the U.S. dollar to strengthen against all seven currencies of major trading partners in 2015.

The panel also predicts the prices paid for raw materials will increase 1.2% during the first four months of 2015, and will increase an additional 0.3% during the balance of the year, with an overall increase of 1.5% for 2015. This compares to a reported 1.4% increase in raw materials prices for 2014 compared with 2013.

Two special questions were asked of our Panel. The first special question asks about unfilled job openings. The top three responses from our Manufacturing panel, with percentages of the total number of responses noted, were “Currently have a typical number of unfilled job openings” (39.5%), “Cannot find enough qualified applicants to fill job openings” (28.8%), and “Hiring less than usual due to economic uncertainty” (18.6%).

The second special question asked whether Manufacturing organizations plan to re-shore significant volumes of manufacturing/business processes in 2015. Of the three possible answers, 10.4% responded “Yes,” 58.8% responded “No,” and 30.8% responded “Not Applicable.” For those organizations that responded “No,” the most often cited main reason for not re-shoring in 2015 was that the “Cost advantage of off-shoring was still too favorable,” with 53.7% of all respondents providing that reason.

Non-manufacturing Summary

Sixty-two percent of non-manufacturing supply management executives expect their 2015 revenues to be greater than in 2014. They currently expect a 10% net increase in overall revenues for 2015 compared to a 5.1% increase reported for 2014 over 2013 revenues. The 15 non-manufacturing industries expecting revenue improvement in 2015 over 2014, listed in order, are: Wholesale Trade; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Transportation & Warehousing; Construction; Other Services; Mining; Retail Trade; Accommodation & Food Services; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Public Administration; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Utilities; Health Care & Social Assistance; Finance & Insurance; and Information.

“Non-manufacturing supply managers report operating at 87.6% of their normal capacity, higher than the 86.3% reported in April 2014. They are optimistic about continued growth in the first half of 2015 compared to the second half of 2014, and they have a higher level of optimism about the next 12 months than they had last December for 2014,” said Nieves. “They forecast that their capacity to produce products and provide services will rise by 4.3 percent during 2015, and capital expenditures will increase by 3.8 percent from 2014 levels. Non-manufacturers also predict their employment will increase by 1.7 percent during 2015.”

Respondents in non-manufacturing industries expect the prices they pay for materials and services will increase by 2.5 percent during 2015. They also forecast their overall labor and benefit costs will increase 2.1 percent in 2015. Profit margins are reported to have increased in the second and third quarters of 2014, and respondents expect them to increase between now and April 2015.

Two special questions were asked of our Panel. The first special question was in response to some organizations that reported having more unfilled job openings than usual in 2014. The top three responses from our Non-Manufacturing panel, with percentages of the total number of responses noted, were “Currently have a typical number of unfilled job openings” (46.5%), “Cannot find enough qualified applicants to fill job openings” (19.1%), and “Hiring less than usual due to economic uncertainty” (15.9%).

The second special question asked whether Non-Manufacturing organizations plan to re-shore significant volumes of manufacturing/business processes in 2015. Of the three possible answers, 8.1% responded “Yes,” 36% responded “No,” and 55.9% responded “Not Applicable.” For those organizations that responded “No,” the most often cited main reason for not re-shoring in 2015 was that the “Cost advantage of off-shoring was still too favorable,” with 52.1% of all respondents providing that reason.

Operating Rate

Manufacturing

Manufacturing purchasing and supply executives report their companies are currently operating at 83.7% of normal capacity. This is a moderate increase when compared to April 2014 (82.3%), and a notable increase when compared to December 2013 (80.3%). The November data from the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business® indicates the manufacturing sector is expanding for the 18th consecutive month. The following nine industries, listed in order, are operating above the average rate of 83.7 percent: Printing & Related Support Activities; Wood Products; Paper Products; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Chemical Products; Computer & Electronic Products; and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products.

This day in Technology History

This day in Technology History

November 21, 2014 in News

Einstein paper outlines E=mc2, November 21, 1905

Suzanne Deffree -November 21, 2014

Albert Einstein’s paper “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?” was published in the journal “Annalen der Physik” on November 21, 1905.

The paper revealed the relationship between energy and mass that would eventually lead to the mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc2 (energy equals mass times the velocity of light squared).

Einstein was far from being the first to propose a mass-energy relationship but he was the first scientist to propose the E = mc2 formula and the first to interpret mass-energy equivalence as a fundamental principle that follows from the relativistic symmetries of space and time.

The paper was one of Einstein’s four Annus Mirabilis papers (from Latin annus mīrābilis, “Extraordinary Year”).  The papers were all published in the Annalen der Physik scientific journal in 1905.

In addition to “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?” on the relationship between energy and mass, Einstein penned:

  • “On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light,” received March 18 and published June 9, which proposed the idea of energy quanta. Einstein was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect, which this paper contributed to.
  • “On the Motion of Small Particles Suspended in a Stationary Liquid, as Required by the Molecular Kinetic Theory of Heat,” received May 11 and published July 18, which delineated a stochastic model of Brownian motion.
  • “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies,” received on June 30 and published September 26, and which reconciled Maxwell’s equations for electricity and magnetism with the laws of mechanics by introducing major changes to mechanics close to the speed of light. This later became known as Einstein’s special theory of relativity.

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