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JULY 2018 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 19 the same sort of skill sets or knowl- edge and there's sometimes reluc- tance to pass on that information to production line personnel. They are the eyes and the ears of a factory and can solve many issues if we give them the tools. I think that the one thing that's missing certainly that I see in the UK and obviously in some parts of Europe is the ability for people to get that information. Of course, now there is a rich source of infor - mation online, you just have to look and decide what's relevant and what's not relevant. But we've never really had a very good educa - tion system, my opinion, for bringing those skills on board. It's only in the last 10 years, certainly in the UK industry, that we're going back to apprenticeships. Those didn't exist for a decade, and now they're becoming more popular again with companies because the companies are being told basically to do it by the government. If you look at technology, there's always challenges and as Steve said about lead-free technology, but boy, have we wasted a lot of money, a lot of effort in doing something that really didn't see a benefit. You know, there's people that promote lead-free technology and those against lead-free technology, but the reality is it never did what it's supposed to do—which is really improve the environment. We're using materials, and we have used mate- rials which, theoretically, if we put them on a table we wouldn't have wanted to use them because they are more detrimental to the envi- ronment than lead ever was, but that's a poli- tician discussion. If we look at manufacturing equipment, I think that we have some incredible equipment available to us. Engineers, including process engineers, have phenomenal tools as long as they can afford them, as long as they can have access to them and implement them into their production lines. The model that contract manufacturers really took on board, by setting up centers of excellence on personnel and equipment so they can then push out the technology and information they've learned, setting standards to all their different outlets and bases, and their different geographical locations, is perfect. But if I step back, say 40 years ago, the only company that really did that is Phillips, in Eind- hoven. There was just one company that had a center there which, if they wanted a new piece of equipment, a new printer, a new dispenser, a new reflow oven, there would be a queue at the door to give them free equipment. They were then able to use that and say that's good, that's bad, that's good paste, that's good coat- ing material, to all of their different satellite organizations. That's kind of what the larger contract manufacturers are able to do. I just wish that some of the smaller companies who have lots of manufacturing sites could also do it because that would improve good implementation and technology and, as this discussion is all about, good practice. I wish I had had the scope and opportunity to replicate this when I was surface mount coordinator for GEC. Las Marias: You mentioned education. I think, as more and more new technologies come to fore, for instance Industry 4.0, Smarter manu- facturing, there is definitely a need for higher skills when it comes to the production line. Would you agree to that?

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