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SMT007-Sept2020

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SEPTEMBER 2020 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 81 you're generating solder dross, we have a solu- tion for you." Johnson: It has been interesting in the past year to follow the wave solder machine market because, depending on who you talk to, there's a question as to whether that's still solid or on the decline. Hardin: Wave soldering machine purchases are on the decline. If anything, people are going more toward selective in replacing older and larger machines. They take up a lot more space, but as far as throughput goes, there are still a lot of companies out there that are doing thousands of power supplies every day. Doing power supplies, you're going to have through- hole and need a lot of production, so wave sol- dering is the only way to do it. Johnson: They're not going to go away. Like many things, there's going to be a particular application that needs wave solder. Hardin: Power supplies will be a long industry for the through-hole. Johnson: What's on the development road- map? What's over the horizon for P. Kay? Hardin: Our focus has been more on the metal side, but we have a lot of parts of the busi- ness. We're in the electronics industry, the industrial radiator industry, the ammunition industry, and that's where our focus has been from a corporate level. Right now, the ammu- nition industry is a very strong market for us, but at the same time, we're always right there with our electronics focus. As far as the indus- try goes, we have our own dedicated team that runs that side of the business, and they're always trying to help customers save money. Johnson: Given that multiple industries are competing for the same raw materials, and some of them are large, global industries, you still see ammunition growing. What other industries seem to be competing for the same materials? Hardin: Battery manufacturing uses many of the same elements as the electronics indus- try, in addition to ammunition. As everyone knows, battery manufacturing and technology is at a high point right now, so that's another strong industry for us. Johnson: We're talking about how well the mining industries are able to keep up supply. What can you share about the market for get- ting your raw materials? Hardin: For the electronics industry, you're talking tin, silver, copper, and some lead, but not too much. Lead has gone way down. The tin market has been down quite a bit—it's probably down 30% from where it was two years ago. Silver is holding pretty steady, and copper is bouncing all over the place right now. Johnson: Is that pricing or production? Hardin: Both. They go hand in hand, espe- cially with those metals. Silver has been pretty steady for a while. As far as mining goes, all those materials are used in lead-free alloys for the most part; 80+% have to be a special grade, which is directly from a mine and triple the impurity levels. Johnson: You don't see production issues out of the mining industry at this point? Hardin: Correct. Johnson: Good. That means that there is a part of the supply chain that may be relatively robust. Hardin: One of the few. Johnson: Jay, thanks for such a thorough brief- ing. Hardin: It was a great conversation, and I appre- ciate the time. SMT007

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