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PCB007-Jan2021

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12 PCB007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2021 Feature Interview by Nolan Johnson I-CONNECT007 Nolan Johnson talks to Audra Thurston, Todd Brassard, and Meredith LaBeau about how Calumet is focusing on smart process- es, and not as much on smart factories. While modern manufacturing equipment and next- gen technologies can be impressive, so much innovation still hinges on human beings. Cal- umet believes by investing in their workforce and instilling a culture of innovation through- out their company and supply chain, they'll see faster advancement. Nolan Johnson: Right now, there's a whole lot of discussion about smart factories and equip- ment that help you automate your manufactur- ing processes. But right behind that is all the "basic blocking and tackling" work that needs to be done to manage processes. How do you tackle process improvement to make them more efficient and make them better? Todd Brassard: A relevant question, especially if the resurgence in domestic manufacturing continues. There is pressure, newfound inter- est, and good reason for U.S. OEMs to manu- facture leading electronics technologies with- in the United States. Much of this new interest is coming from increasing security concerns as other countries rapidly advance their technical capabilities—at times through forced technolo- gy transfer, intellectual property theft, or other nefarious methods—which in many cases al- ready exceeds the manufacturing capabilities of the U.S. electronics industry. Sure, there's good reason to bring electron- ics manufacturing back to U.S. soil, but law- makers' focus on advancing and protecting ex- clusively microelectronics, as opposed to the greater surrounding ecosystem, has ended in a domestic electronics industry that can readily conceive and design, but not adequately man- ufacture, the most advanced electronic sys- tems at home in the United States. Through direct and frequent interactions, we know de- Focus on Smart Processes, Not Just Smart Factories Calumet Electronics 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility.

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