What is ElecTech?
ElecTech is the industry sector that represents the electronics and electrical hardware that all ‘tech’ relies on to exist. ElecTech is a major sector like fintech, agritech, medtech, legaltech and other ‘techs’. However, its usage is becoming so ubiquitous across almost every industry sector from automotive and aerospace to food, health, agriculture and banking that we need to ensure the UK’s vibrant electech sectro thrives.
The ElecTech Council represents the electronics and electrical industries, bringing together a wide range of companies bound by a strong core of common skills from the most junior technician to the most advanced PhD: electronics; electrical; and embedded software and systems.
Electronics is everywhere in our lives. Created using semiconductors, it is in everything from the largest datacentre supercomputer to the smallest lightbulb or nanosensor. The UK has always excelled in designing semiconductor technologies, chips and key building blocks such as processors (CPUs and GPUs), analog from RF to baseband, sensors and more. UK designs from companies like ARM are licensed to companies around the world.
Electro-technical technologies and standards are at the heart of everyday life. From the electrical wiring, plugs and sockets to the rules for controlling radio emissions, the electro-technical industries are a significant contributor to the UK economy. They’re a massive employer too, encompassing electricians, telephone and mobile installers, power line engineers, automation experts and much more.
Power electronics comprises the devices and systems that manage the delivery of power, switch and control its distribution, and adjust its voltage, current and other characteristics to meet the needs of whatever is consuming it. Power electronics is used extensively in any form of heavy machinery, as well as aerospace and of course throughout the electrical energy info-rastructure. Power electronics is also a vital component in modern consumer and automotive electronics – anywhere there is a battery, a transformer or a generator, you’ll find it.
Opto Electronics is the use of semiconductor lasers, receptors and other devices to move data from one place to another, as well as to transmit and detect light passing down optical cables and convert it into electrical signals. It is an essential part of modern communications, and is increasingly used in high performance computing. Opto also is a key area of sensor development.
Embedded software is the highly specialised software buried within most electronics that controls all the basic functions. Embedded software enables computers to talk to each other; graphics to appear on a screen; manages battery life and much more. Apps and all software running everywhere from the datacentre to your home PC relies on embedded software to work. Even operating systems such as Android or Windows are mostly built from embedded software.
Embedded systems are all the electronic boxes, sometimes combined with mechanical and other technologies, to make something work in an environment where the user usually has little or no interaction with the system itself. Embedded systems are controlled by embedded software, and they’re everywhere. From the boxes controlling your engine, lights or entertainment in your car, to the boxes controlling the jet engines or flight control systems in an aircraft; the electronics controlling a robot or even your Amazon Echo: they’re all embedded systems. And these are what enable the smart, connected world to happen.