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18 PCB007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2018 tionalities as they were incorporated each year or so, much like parents chart their children's growth by marking the kids' height on the wall on their birthday. Evolutionary change is slow and gradual, and fairly predictable. I imag- ine that most of the equipment and software in your facility contain evolutionary improve- ment and upgrades over the previous models. But revolutionary change is disruptive to the status quo. Revolutionary change is unpre- dictable, an upset applecart that can't be set right until the full effects of the shift are quan- tified and understood. Sometimes the reverber- ations from revolutionary change make it al- most impossible to measure its long-term ef- fects for years. You know your product is revolutionary if it forces other companies to change the way they operate. I liken revolutionary change to a quantum leap; it's not exactly an apples-to- apples comparison, but it's close. The Model T w a s c l e a r l y revolutionary, p u t t i n g t h e average Joe into an automobile and blacksmiths and wagon build- e rs o u t o f wo r k almost overnight. EDA software and the SMT process were likewise revolutionary, c h a n g i n g t h e way PCBs were designed and assembled, and Shopping at IPC APEX EXPO: Evolutionary or Revolutionary Products? Feature by Andy Shaughnessy I-CONNECT007 Every year, managers and technologists de- scend upon IPC APEX EXPO, shopping list in hand, scouring the aisles in search of deals on capital equipment, software, alloys, chemistry, and whatever else they can find. Sure, many of the big pieces of equipment on display are already sold. On the flip side, there are plen- ty of deals to be made at IPC APEX EXPO be- cause no company wants to pay to ship a ma- chine twice. As you're finalizing your shopping list, take a second to consider this: Are you in the mar- ket for products that are evolutionary or revo- lutionary? And what do those terms even mean for someone looking for new DFM software or a new pick-and-place machine? Evolutionary vs. Revolutionary The term "revolu- tionary" gets thrown around pretty often in the electronics world. But most new products— even the most expensive— fall into the evolutionary cat- egory; they feature logical up- dates and improvements over the last revision of that par- ticular product. You could see these updates coming, and they make a good product a better product. If you look back on a product's life cycle, you can track the new func- 18 PCB007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2018

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