During the project duration, a number of adhesives-related technologies underwent a positive development. Smart card technology for instance, nowadays is one major application field for adhesives technology. Automotive electronics, seeking for very high reliability standards under elevated operation temperatures is taking advantage of adhesives joining technology for hybrid electronics. Consumer and industrial electronics, incorporating low-cost flexible circuits, can be assembled by using adhesives technology, avoiding high soldering temperatures of the traditional assembly process. These are some technological areas, covered by different activities of the project. Many activities and collaborations were initiated, which will last over the end of the Thematic Network. The international conference on "Adhesives Joining in Electronics Manufacturing", an initiating initiative of this project, being organised by VDI/VDE-IT in 1994, has become an yearly international event POLYTRONIC, integrating adhesives and polymers technology in electronics, optics and microsystems.
Training courses on the use of adhesives in Electronics were developed and carried out in co-operation with several universities and research institutes, which incorporate these experiences into their curricula. Finally, research activities were initiated and structured more on an European rather than on a national level. Several EC-funded projects and bilateral commercial R&D projects were negotiated and approved and are under execution now. Further projects in respect of the recent FP6 can be expected. Through executing the Thematic Network "Adhesives in Electronics", many rather national-oriented RTD activities could be mapped and a more European view on the ongoing work and the further developments could be established within the consortium. This was achieved by following a work plan, covering activities of information compilation, networking, and dissemination activities, which all together improve the general knowledge base of the European electronics manufacturing industry. Balancing these clear defined work packages with the rather soft defined goal of co-ordination of future research, turned out to be a highly complicated management issue, and caused quite some changes in the partner structure and their individual roles during the project duration.
In electronics manufacturing the packaging and interconnection techniques are playing a key role for further miniaturisation of the structures and for increasing the density of functions and components in electronic products. Among the packaging and interconnection techniques for electronics manufacturing there is presently a great interest in the application of adhesives. Adhesives used in the joining technology for electronics manufacturing are offering many advantages compared to the presently used soldering technique. In order to establish the application of adhesives in electronics manufacturing more generally, there are still developments of new materials and investigations on the quality and reliability of these new materials, the components with adapted surfaces and the fabricated interconnections necessary. For this purpose several national and European RTD projects are under execution. A thematic network in this technical field will be a valuable accompanying measure for a more effective technology transfer between research institutes and industry as well as among industry itself. Materials and components suppliers, user companies, equipment manufacturers and research institutes will cooperate within this network. It will enable the exchange of information among the participants on latest results of new materials developments, process investigations and reliability of interconnections. From the participants of the network suggestions for norms and standardisation of materials and processes will be made. The coordinator will arrange visits of laboratories in institutes and companies and a mutual terminated exchange of personnel among the participants. These activities will be encouraged by regular meetings organised by the coordinator of the network.