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68 SMT007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2018 world. There's a lot of positive changes towards cleaning because all these electronics are not only increasing in number but are also getting more complicated. Overall, it's become challenging to clean and provide value, and that's what we are good at. We like challenges. Las Marias: What are the greatest challenges that your customers face when it comes to cleaning? Wack: Well, none of our customers would want to pay for cleaning if they wouldn't have to. So, customers will come to us with their challenges, and they come to us to look for solutions and help. Like I said, they don't do it voluntarily because that's an added cost. You don't see a cleaning agent on the component or circuit board afterwards, but it adds value because it removes contamination. So, when customers come to us or to the competition, they know they need help. But at least when we talk to them it's a clear understanding and expectation they have of us to help them solve their problems. Typically, people come to us for cleaning challenges, environmental challenges, and a lot of them have come from the no-clean world and haven't cleaned before; they're looking for education and general understanding of how to set up a process. It's a varying degree of things that they asked us for, but in the end, it all centers around support, education, helping them set up processes, improve processes, cut the cost, go greener, and look for more environmentally sound products; sometimes they come to us because they look for new products. Every year, our innovation index is very high—the number of new products relative to current products. So, a lot of customers are interested in testing the new products; if there's something like a new set up, it spurs a lot of general interest from the customers. I think most come to us because they have cleaning challenges— sometimes new cleaning challenges that they haven't had before. Las Marias: You mentioned there are also companies that aren't really cleaning their assemblies. Wack: In the 1990s when the no-cleans came out, we thought we would go out of business. But as it turned out, no-clean is not no residue, it's low residue. And for some high-end applications, military or aerospace or medical, even automotive, that little residue is still too much. However, there is still a big contingency of customers who are not cleaning. They are just using no-clean and coating over it, and so far, for those applications, it seems to be good enough; maybe in the future, that will change and give us an opportunity to help them as well. Las Marias: There seems to have this misconception when it comes to no-clean flux. Some still think that when you say no-clean, there's no need for cleaning. Wack: Some customers will try as much and will go as far as they can in terms of reliability, if it is for whatever product lifespan is acceptable, and if they can get away with not cleaning, they will. As soon as it begins to fail, and they see issues—and that's across all industries— they come to us and say, "I am at the point that I have to start cleaning no-clean." And a vast number of our customers clean the no-clean because they have reached that point already. Las Marias: Where does Zestron come in? How are you helping customers address their cleaning issues? You don't see a cleaning agent on the component or circuit board afterwards, but it adds value because it removes contamination.

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