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The Surface Mount Technology columns, the Step Series, are a mainstay in the semiconductor industry. Written by prominent industry leaders, each column from the 2005 year and published in SMT, addresses a critical 'step' in the manufacturing process, from the initial design stages through final rework. This technology driven series represents the most advanced research and creative solutions for the one of the most complex and capital intense industries in the world economy. In addition to the step series, SMT also includes its lead-free series of columns published in 2005. As the world prepares for lead-free manufacturing and the enactment of the Restrictions on Hazardous Materials directive, massive changes are happening for the surface mount assembly sector. The inclusion of these articles represents a year's worth of counsel, technology and research at a critical time for the industry. Key features include: --Best practices and innovative ideas for surface mount assemblers --How to guidelines in the conversion to lead-free manufacturing --Insight into the new WEEE and RoHS directives --Guest essay by longetime SMT columnist Rob Rowland on the state of the industry.