PCB007 Magazine

PCB-July2015

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28 The PCB Magazine • July 2015 though we extended lead times, our customers knew they had a defined amount of capacity re- served for them. It was not a fun time for our customers or us because the global demand ex- ceeded our global capacity. In the midst of that period, in Arizona alone, we were able to produce 36% more laminate in 2014 than we did in 2013. In China it was ap- proximately 25%, and about 18% more out of our Belgium factory. When you aggregate it all together, it was well over 25% improved global throughput. Now we have the new capacity on- line; we added a thermoset treater in China for the RO4000 prod- uct line. It's a treater for creat- ing the dielectric material we call pre-preg that goes into the laminate we make. We added 50% additional global pre-preg capacity when we brought it online in China, and it's up and running at full production speeds. On this treater we started the inter- nal qualification in the latter half of 2013, and in 2014 we ramped it up from one shift, to three shifts, and we've moved that pre-preg produc- tion into China where the majority of our customers are. Now we have much signifi- cantly more pre-preg capacity than we need globally, so we are back ahead of the demand growth curve and are probably good for the next three years when we believe we'll need to introduce some addi- tional pre-preg capacity. From the lamination side, we had two large expansion projects in lamination going on, as far as new capital equipment. We have two presses we are adding in Suzhou. The first press we were able to expedite and we did get it on- line and approved in March 2015. We added that capacity and that press is primarily for the RO4000 product. That added about 10–15% more capacity globally; we also took our Bel- gium operation from six to seven days in lami- nation, and that added another 10%. Right now we are at 25% more capacity than we had if you turn the clock back six months ago. The other thing that has happened in the midst of this 18-month journey is the acqui- sition of Arlon, and what came with that pur- chase are not just the different sets of products and customers, but also some available capac- ity. In the Arlon factories we are presently look- ing at the individual types of machinery, what products are run there, and we are identifying what capacity we can extract out of the factory to possibly run Rogers' legacy products. We are going through that analysis now and we are positioned very well for the next wave of increased demand. We've been able to bring our lead times down signifi- cantly, although I think the roughest period was when we had to take our lead times up to 55 business days on RO4000 materials. That prob- ably caused the most angst in the customer base. I'm glad to report we have done two lead time reductions since late March. We took 10 days out in late March, and another 10 days out in May and are down to 35 days. Our plan is to get it under 15 days by the begin- ning of the fourth quarter and we are ahead of schedule for that lead time improvement. We've also brought lead times down on RO3000 materials as well. In addition to the lead time reductions, we are creating some strategic stocking programs at the master sheet level so that when we do get a customer order on those parts we can turn the order in less than five working days. I think we have a pretty solid plan going forward on all product lines. The entire period of the last 12 months we went through was very demanding for everybody; it was seen but not expected to come that early and so we were unfortunately behind the demand wave. It's like a guy in the ocean who is going to ride the wave; it just so happened the wave came sooner than we ex- Feature AN UPDATE ON THE ROGERS MATERIAL SUPPLy LINE continues We've been able to bring our lead times down significantly, although i think the roughest period was when we had to take our lead times up to 55 business days on ro4000 materials. that probably caused the most angst in the customer base. i'm glad to report we have done two lead time reductions since late march. " "

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