SMT007 Magazine

SMT007-Apr2021

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24 SMT007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2021 Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team Diane Maceri and Jessi Hall discuss how Sch- weitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) has been working with Alex Stepinski of Green- Source Fabrication to build their own captive PCB facility in Moscow, Idaho; the thought process behind that decision; and their involve- ment in the Managers Forum at IPC APEX EXPO 2021. Barry Matties: Diane, can you give us an over- view of the decision process to build a new captive PCB factory? Diane Maceri: We produce a high volume of PCBs, they're lower complexity, and we have great supplier partners, but we have to take into consideration that they're buying equipment and working toward manufactur- ing more complex PCBs. ere's always that tension between the capacity we need, and the complex needs of making a higher profit margin. Because of this, and because we're always growing, we looked at whether we wanted to bring on another supplier partner to expand. Do we want to buy an existing PCB factory, or do we want to build our own? We weighed those pros and cons. rough a lot of work over the past two years, we concluded that we wanted to build our own factory. We met Alex [Stepinski of GreenSource Fabrication] and mapped out a path that looked very interesting to us as far as the facility not having waste and that kind of thing. Matties: Alex really focuses on automated pro- cess. Is that what you moved toward as well— a fully automated process? Jessi Hall: Our primary concern is the flow through the factory so, yes, I would say it's pretty automated, although not fully auto- mated. ere are some things where we don't feel the technology is quite ready and we want to ensure that we have a reliable product—that's very important for our industry. We decided to pursue automation for the things that make A New Captive PCB Facility in the U.S.

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