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PCB007-Sep2022

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10 PCB007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2022 In this conversation with the I-Connect007 Editorial Team, Alex Stepinski shares his insight on how to automate the PCB fab. Spoiler alert: It doesn't start with new equip- ment and panel handlers; it's much more stra- tegic than that. Alex details the new role of a chief technology officer in the 21st century and cautions that we don't have nearly enough of them in the industry. Nolan Johnson: Alex, the pressures are increas- ing on PCB fabs to mechanize, and it's coming from several directions, whether it's capabili- ties, labor, or staffing abilities. How does some- one in charge of a PCB facility move this for- ward without breaking the bank, or having to hire a coder or soware engineer? Alex Stepinski: is is an interesting topic. It is the intersection of investment manage- ment: what a CFO does; and technology deliv- ery: what a CTO does. You could say that an advanced CTO with a strong finance back- ground is likely the key person to drive some- thing like this in a company. You don't even necessarily need engineers on site; you just need one person who can architect the whole thing. It's all about intrapreneurship with the Lean startup approach. e question is, "How do I move my business plan forward to improve my efficiencies—labor, capital utilization effi- ciencies, return on invested capital, commod- ity strategy?" You need a plan for a particular process area: If we upgrade to X, what do I get out of it? What products and emergent Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team

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