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PCB007-Apr2020

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16 PCB007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 change for things to flow back. But I am con- fident that we are responding well. There are still areas that we need to improve. I use the example of ventilators. There's still a demand for those, and there is a challenge in trying to find qualified manufacturers that can build the parts for it in the proper way. It's not like you can go down to any board shop and say, "Build this for us." You'd need to be doing it in the proper way because you don't want to have that ventilator break down on you. There are still challenges, but we are hope- fully moving more toward handling those challenges and then, soon thereafter, trying to move things back to a little bit more normalcy. The challenges will be in, first—as the indus- try pointed out—how quickly will the demand return will be the big question. Once you have the demand, getting the right parts going for- ward will be a concern. Matties: We've mentioned it several times, but ventilators and medical products are strong drivers in our industry right now. And those orders will start to subside as the curve flat- tens and the need for ventilators diminishes. What sort of forecast does IPC have for once that happens? Mitchell: We don't have a specific forecast for that. That's a great question. Maybe it's some- thing that I can ask in our upcoming meeting in terms of how you will respond if you're not building ventilators. Not everybody is building ventilators, though. Let me maybe respond to it in that fashion. There are only certain orga- nizations that have the credentials to work on these products. As far as I'm aware, no one has come out and said, "We're willing to re- lease our quality standards on ventilators so that anybody can build them," because that's not going to help anyway. If your life depends on a ventilator, and suddenly it fails because it didn't go through the right reviews and quality regulations, then that's a problem. Only cer- tain organizations can do that, but there are a lot of shifts that are going on in the market- place. If that changes in two weeks or a month and we suddenly have enough, a million ven- tilators will have been created, and supply will be at parity. At that stage, there will be a little bit more calming in the market, and people will begin to return to shipping normal goods. With the workforce shortage will, I don't expect things to go back to 100% right away. I just shared an update on the China piece on LinkedIn. Today, China is somewhere between 85% and 98%. In February, they were trying to get to 50%, and in March, they were flirting with the goal of 80%–85%. Now, we are mid-April, and they're still not 100%, so it's going to take some time to ramp up for all those same rea- sons. People don't want to have a relapse of the virus, so there's still limited transporta- tion and changing how you work, but it will come back. Matties: Regarding ventilators, it's not just the actual bare board fabricators, but it's the base materials and components. It's a strong driver throughout the entire supply chain for us right now. It will be interesting to see what your committees or teams come up with to that forecast or what impact they feel it will have. I know you're an optimist, but what sort of con- cerns do you have for the industry right now? Mitchell: One of my concerns is that, right now, people need to pay more attention to the real numbers as opposed to the fear. It is a disease or a virus or a pandemic that can impact you. But when we look at the actual numbers, the U.S. has become the most infected country in There are still challenges, but we are hopefully moving more toward handling those challenges and then, soon thereafter, trying to move things back to a little bit more normalcy.

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