News from EIPC

4 December 2017

A Conversation with EIPC Executive Director Kirsten Smit-Westenberg

November 29, 2017 | Pete Starkey and Patty Goldman, I-Connect007

The EIPC booth was a busy place during productronica, with several members and other organizations headquartered there, resulting in a constant stream of people stopping by to visit, get information and study the upcoming conference agendas. Overseeing the big, and even the little things, was Executive Director Kirsten Smit-Westenberg, who made sure important questions got answered, people stayed hydrated, and EIPC’s magnetic pins found homes on shirt collars. She managed to find a few moments to sit down with Editors Pete Starkey and Patty Goldman to fill them in on the latest news from EIPC.

Patty Goldman: Kirsten, it’s so very nice to meet you in person. Please fill in our readers on your position at EIPC and the latest news.

Kirstin Smit-Westenberg: I am the executive director, and have been for five years now. Before that, I was project manager, so I was responsible for all the events that we organized. The executive position is a little bit more than that, and includes doing the financials, taking the membership, recruiting new members, and continuing to organize the events.

Goldman: So what all is going on at EIPC?

Smit-Westenberg: What’s going on now, for me, is organizing and preparing for our winter conference in Lyon, France, which will be held February 1 and 2, 2018, at Alstom SA, a train equipment maker in France. It is located a little bit outside of Lyon. This will be quite different from the other events that we organize, which are normally held in a hotel. This time, we were invited to have our conference at the Alstom facility.

Thursday and Friday of the program will be within the Alstom facility, including a tour to see some of their production line where they make railway engines. Unfortunately, we will not see the actual trains being built, but we will see some of the assembly lines. It’s a technical conference, so we have a very interesting program scheduled and the theme is future trends for successful positioning of Europe’s place in the global supply chain. We will divide our program into four sessions and a keynote session, with speakers from all over Europe and the U.S. We have Walt Custer again, to give a global market outlook and we have a bunch of interesting companies within Europe presenting, so I’m very happy with the program. Then in the evening we’ll have a nice social program and dinner in downtown Lyon.

Goldman: That sounds excellent. I also understand that you’re planning a special event for your summer conference.

Smit-Westenberg: Next year is our 50th anniversary—EIPC was founded in 1968. For our summer conference to be held on May 31 and June 1, we’ve decided to have a 50th anniversary conference and we’d like to do something special for our guests, so we’ve organized a social program, a dinner cruise on the Rhine River in Bonn, Germany. Our two-day conference will look similar, in a way, to our other conferences. It will be a technical conference on a Thursday and Friday, with two days of papers from companies all over Europe. We invited some of the founders of the EIPC, like Doctor Fassini, who has accepted. Hopefully, some other people who have been involved with the EIPC for 50 years will be present. We also will visit Radio Antenna, in Bonn. I am very much looking forward to this milestone and I  think it will be a great event.

Goldman: It sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun, with a lot of reminiscing, and maybe an exceptionally large crowd.

Smit-Westenberg: I hope so. I hope that people will see this as something special and that we will extend our crowd from 80−100 to maybe 150 or more. We would be delighted to welcome all our members and more. Of course, you’re invited to come, Patty. It would be a pleasure to have you experience your first EIPC conference.

Goldman: Yes, it would be. Of course, We usually have Pete Starkey attend and I’m sure he won’t miss that one. Pete, how many years have you been in EIPC?

Pete Starkey: I’m thinking back to the days when I was doing presentations in EIPC conferences and I remember, in the late ’80s and the early ’90s, talking about first-generation photoimageable solder resists. I remember doing a joint presentation with Diethard Kapp-Schwoerer, who was with Ciba-Geigy at that time on liquid photoimageable innerlayer resists. At that time, I was in PCB manufacturing and was recounting my experience of new production technologies. But, really, for the last 15 years or so, I’ve attended the conferences as a journalist to produce a technical review of the proceedings, which people are always interested in reading. It’s a big compliment when people say, “I wasn’t able to attend the conference for whatever reason, but I have read your review and feel you’ve captured the essence of what was presented.” And I’ve always been made very welcome. Thank you.

Smit-Westenberg: And we very much appreciate the excellent technical reports and the reviews that you do for the conferences. I get those responses as well.

Starkey: That’s very encouraging for me and a great compliment, I think, to a lot of my colleagues at I-Connect007. We’re pleased to help to publicize the outcome of these events.

Goldman: I understand that the PCB fabricators in Europe are very busy this year. I’m sure you’re going to stay busy.

Smit-Westenberg: We will be. This productronica has been an interesting edition. It’s been very busy and there has been a positive vibe for all four days. We experienced people being very optimistic for the near future. Of course, not the far future, but who can predict what will happen in five to 10 years? But, at least, two, three, or four years, they were very optimistic about that. And we can read from Walt’s numbers that the economy in Europe is doing better than it has done for quite a while.

Goldman: Things are looking up.

Smit-Westenberg: Yes, and that reflects on all of us, so it’s good for everyone.

Goldman: Kirsten, thank you very much for your time.

Smit-Westenberg: Thank you, Patty.


From Festivity to Resistivity

Having heard a choir singing Christmas Carols In a town square in November, one is inclined to the view that some people like to start early.

Starting early is not a bad idea when you are thinking about the post-Christmas period; you know, it’s that flat period when the weather is rubbish, Spring seems a long way off and the countryside comes in shades of black and white.

If you want something a lot more colourful and uplifting then you could join the EIPC at one of their renowned Conferences, their members are as close as one can get to an angelic host; they are a clubbable lot, most convivial and enormously well-informed.

Two days with them and you’ll be set fair for the year ahead.

They are getting together under the roof of one of Europe’s leading OEMs, Alstom, (who make very large train sets), where their proceedings will be presented by an international band of good fellows and even better ladies from such luminary companies as AT&S, Ericsson, Bosch, iNEMI, UL, Atotech, FED, and many others.

To ensure your place, get in touch right away with EIPC’s Executive Director Kirsten Smit-Westenberg at their office in Geleen on

Programme highlights:

Keynote: Business, Technology & New Developments

Custer Consulting, Yole, AT&S
Session 1: Trends and capabilities in PCB fabrication

Robert Bosch, Wurth, Dyconex, Ventec, TTM, Ericsson
Session 2: Reliability

First EIE, PWB Interconnect Solutions, Gen3 Systems, Alstom
Session 3: Process improvements

iNEMI, Xact PCB, Atotech, Taiyo
Session 4: European needs for New Technology, Product Safety and Training

UL, Printed Electronics, CCI Eurolam, FED


Detailed conference programme is available on the EIPC website!

Conference location:

Alstom, Transport Information Solutions

3, Rue Henry Legay

69100 Villeurbanne, France


Recommended Hotel accommodation:

Ibis Lyon Centre

Lyon Centre Perrache

28 Cours de Verdun Perrache

69002 Lyon

Tel: +33-478.37.56.55



The EIPC has negotiated a special rate for a single room of € 110.- per night. You can reserve your hotel room directly at the hotel by contacting the hotel at +33-478.37.56.55 or, please use the Hotel reservation form.


We look forward to welcoming you in Lyon!

Kind regards,

The EIPC Team



  50 years of service, a century of conferences, a lifetime of excellence

EIPC will be marking the first 50 years of their existence in May next year with a rather special Conference to be held in Bonn, Germany on 31st May and 1st June 2018. Back in 1968 the PCB industry was coming of age; youthful and energetic companies had embraced the new technology, even if the origins could be traced back to the 1930’s The need for an industry pillar of support gave rise to the formation of the European Institute of Printed Circuits in an age when men wore ties and boards were predominantly single-sided.  Ties have now been discarded, holes have proliferated, the technology has become highly sophisticated, and the functionality of a PCB has increased as the boards have become smaller. Happily EIPC is no smaller than it was 50 years ago, indeed membership burgeons thanks to the continued industry support available to the members, and the bi-annual technical conferences which have imparted invaluable information and advice consistently at a truly European gamut of venues.

No exception this rule will be Bonn, one of Germany’s oldest cities, and the secondary seat of the President and the Chancellor. Beethoven was born in Bonn, and Germany’s present constitution was declared there in 1949. The city straddles the River Rhine, and is home to over 310,000 people. The history of the city dates back to Roman times. In about 12 BC, the Roman army appears to have stationed a small unit in what is presently the historical centre of the city. In May next year EIPC will be stationing another small unit in the same place, made up of a very peaceful tribal group dedicated to everything holey.

In line with their aim of keeping their members afloat, the occasion will be marked with a cruise down the river Rhine, during which something of a well-deserved celebration will take place.  To book your place at the conference and on board as well, please contact Kirsten Smit-Westenberg at or call +31-46-4264258.


The European Institute for the PCB Community
PO Box 610, NL-6160 AP Geleen
Office: +31 46 426 42 58



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