ISO 14001 specifies the requirements for an organisation's environmental management system and applies to those aspects over which it has control and where it can be expected to have an influence. Since 2004�s original certification Labtech has steadily worked towards phasing out or replacing two key manufacturing processes, one being electroless copper and the other Fluoroetch (the removal of fluorine from Teflon based substrates). Health and safety legislation limits worker exposure to formaldehyde and difficulties in removing it from the workplace atmosphere has resulted in Labtech reducing the electroless copper process from their manufacturing operation by 40% over the past two years. Fluoroetch use has been similarly reduced and is being replaced by a less consumptive March plasma 1600 system, which is also faster, more reliable and has greater capacity for specialised work.
Commenting on their re accreditation and environmental management development, Mike Attwood, Labtech�s health, safety and environmental process manager, said: �In addition to the phasing out of electroless copper and fluoroetch, we now use Chrome (III) instead of the potentially carcinogenic Chrome (VI) aluminium passivation process and look to eliminate all solvent consumption in due course. Labtech is also fully equipped to meet the ROHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) legislation and now in a position to offer customers formal compliance certificates which meet the JIG101 (Joint Industry Guide) standard. Although the work we are carrying out is a general reflection of the standards to which industry on the whole is aspiring to, it is still very important for our employees and our customers to know that we are working in a safe, environmentally aware manner. There is a financial pay-off as well. Recycling 30 tonnes of waste metal per annum helps Labtech to offset the increasing costs of energy, highlighting that good environmental impact management can also be very cost effective.�
About Labtech Microwave
Established in 1984, Labtech Microwave provides a total microwave solution with specialist capabilities in design, manufacture, assembly and testing. Highly engineered microwave components and build-to-print microwave manufacturing services are offered to the defence, telecommunications and satellite communication sectors. Located at two dedicated manufacturing centres in the UK, their site at Milton Keynes specialises in microwave component manufacture including MIC (Microwave integrated circuits) assembly whilst the operation in Presteigne is dedicated to microwave printed circuit board manufacture.
Labtech Microwave is part of Intelek plc (AIM: ITK), whose activities include the design and manufacture of electronic systems and components for the satellite, wireless communications and defence sectors as well as aerospace engineering.