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PCB-Feb2017

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48 The PCB Magazine • February 2017 Matties: Yeah. Do we need the vacuum in there, or is it just there because of the resist work? It's a dual-purpose machine? Kunz: It could be dual purpose machine de- pending on the options. Of course, if the panel is flat, you would like to handle it with vacu- um. But if you cannot, then you do it with me- chanical clamps. They have the disadvantage that you cannot handle the panel all over the place. There will be a bow in the panel, but it is clamped on the edges. But the bow in the panel can be nicely compensated for by auto-focusing the axis which runs across the panel in the right height. For this reason, you can use this func- tion in that way. Matties: Right. Then curing is done off-line? It just goes out, or do you do a tack cure in those pro- cesses? Kunz: You could apply a curing inside the ma- chine, but it must be adapted very carefully. It creates some heat, so we've found it much more efficient to do it offline, after exposing. This could create some 20, 30, or 40% less energy. This gets you back into the levels of the stan- dard exposure system, concerning cycle time. Matties: Good. Congratulations. How is business in general for you now? Kunz: Well, we cannot complain. 2016 was the first year after many years where we had a pretty steady load in our factory. It was not skyrocket high, but it was on good levels, and no peaks and downturns like we had over the years in 2015, '14, and '13. For this one, we're quite satisfied that we could work, let's say, in normal manner, which gives us a little bit of continuity. Matties: When you start looking at new technol- ogy, what drives you? How do you determine what the next piece of equipment will be, or the next, not incremental step in feature, but substantial step in feature? How do you come up with those strategies? Kunz: It's a mix of looking at global trends and talking directly to customers. That's why we're at trade shows, so you get a level of information within a few days that you can put together to a certain idea of how it should be done in the next one, two, or three years; to look further than that is not possible today. Matties: Is that your window, usually a two- or three-year window for technology? Or do you say "Ah, we can do something short order, six months or less?" Kunz: Of course, there are elements that you can do more quickly, but the big scale development takes us two or three years, because it must be adapted to markets; you must look at function- ality costs, accuracy, reliability. Usually, such a machine is not built in one step. Matties: What are we going to see from you in the next couple years? Kunz: That will be productronica. We've only just considered what we will bring to the next one in 2017, so I cannot answer this question. Matties: All right, very good. Thank you for spending time with us today. I greatly appreciate it. PCB THE POWER OF THREE: SCHMOLL TALKS TECHNOLOGY

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