TechBlick 12 - Gerry [EN]

So my name is Jos and I’m working on research in circular economy and automotive sector. And I would like to know your point of view. If you accept, I’m going to record our conversation, transcribe it and put to transcription with a pseudonym, not your real name, in a repository of text documents that will be used for the research. If you do this and you change your mind and no longer want to participate, get in touch with us and we will immediately remove your interview from the repository. I’m leaving your information sheet with contact information, so if you agree then please tell me your name and that you agree. How long is this going to take? Seven. Eight minutes. Not more. Okay.

Yes I agree.

What is your name?

Oh, sorry. Gary Nichols.

Okay. Gary. So the first question, can you tell me a bit about your educational and professional background and interests?

I am been in the electronics industry about 30 years with different companies, mostly on the materials side. We’ve been working in automotive electronics for a very similar time frame. I’m the sales manager for Medela, which is a Swiss based company, and we have locations in the US and globally. We have about 2000 people who work for us, mostly in precious metals and work in a variety of different applications. A lot of them involve automotive.

And what is your area of expertise?

It’s mostly we make silver powders and flakes for conductive powder, conductive base and inks formulations.

The theme of this conference is The future of Electronics Reshaped. What does the idea of reshaping electronics for the future mean to you?

Great question. Um, so traditionally, the electronics I’ve known from in the past have been typically circuit boards, which are very flat. And hopefully what I’ve seen with some of the applications with this kind of technology that we’re talking about in this conference, is we can make more three dimensional electronics applications that are for typically have never been really approached from an electronics point of view. So things like patches on fabrics and t shirts. So a lot of the a lot of the different technologies we see here may be able to replace some of those very traditional circuit board technologies and bring it into a much more, much more applications, much for different areas medical, automotive, solar energy, PV, EV, so that kind of thing. So hopefully what we’re trying to do, I think in this this year is to we, we shape we shape physical electronics to to be more usable generally speaking for for humans a lot more better interface.

What do you think is the relationship between electronics and sustainability?

Sustainability. Hopefully it’s something that we’ve been asked a lot more about in the last ten, ten, 15 years. Sustainability is a very key to to electronics. How we can use less, how we can use lower temperatures to to process the electronics, how we can go from cradle to grave and try and recycle as much as we can. All aspects that we that electronics people look at now. And I think there’s been much more emphasis of this in the last five years. So.

Uh, Gary, can you define a circular economy in your own words? What is it?

What economy?

What is circular economy?

Siliconized circular. Oh, circular economy. I have no idea what that means.

It it means an economy based on sharing, reusing, repairing and recycling materials and existing products. Okay. So do you have, uh, do you participate in a circular economy?

So what we do in many applications is we for our particular example of what we do, we can take jewelry or, and or electronics, things like pictures taken using silver particles in for, for hospitals. We can take those and recycle them. So what we do then we bring them into the factory, we place them in some of our, uh, heated units and we can burn them, burn them down to make new, new silvers and precious metals so we don’t have to get them out of the ground. So a lot of the recycling that we do, especially in the US, we can say we can weave most of our streams come from things like cash for gold and those those different. Some avenues where we can get recycled materials from. So that’s what we think, that hopefully that will increase over time as we become more aware of how to get different streams in to the to the refinery. We call it the refinery. Hopefully we can improve the recyclability of of all these different electronics.

Do you think electronics can play a role in making the car industry more sustainable?

Absolutely. Absolutely. Some of the technologies I’ve seen, some of the applications we’ve worked on, I think absolutely, we can see now how the how the automotive guys get stripped down the cars at the end and start to reprocess the materials that they’ve used. I don’t know much about that part of the of that of that equation, but I think that the way the smart electronics are put together now, hopefully they’ll things get smaller, more powerful. And I think that electronic that that from that side the point of view, I hope that will improve the wastage that we that we put into that right now.