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34 The PCB Magazine • March 2017 higher process cycle times. Yet another compa- ny may prioritize process cycle times or other factors. Which model does your company fit? The product being processed can also have an impact on how a good process might be de- fined. For complex multilayer build-ups where yield loss in the final product can skyrocket, a "good" laser process may require a focus on higher quality than an equivalent double-sided FPC laminate process. Alternatively, the product material might be more expensive on one prod- uct than another, in which case yield might be prioritized higher. The phase of a given project or the level of production backlog may similarly impact the priority of quality and yield, productivity, or time to develop such a process. At a human level, one can even think about how different employee roles and responsibili- ties impact this question. Depending on orga- nizational incentives, management structures, etc., different individuals may have different personal priorities that can influence their per- ception of a good process. A process engineer being pushed or incentivized to get the finished product out the door and qualified as quickly as possible may prioritize process development speed over yield or process cycle time. The fac- tory manager, on the other hand, may be watch- ing over total production costs and total pro- duction output and, therefore, prioritize these factors differently. Ideally, in a well-run orga- nization, all employees will be aligned to the organization's goals and strategies and be cogni- zant of the product, project phase, and product backlog. Often that is not the case and needs to be continuously monitored and worked on. Why are there tradeoffs in process development? As discussed above, different circumstances will impact the relative priority of process de- velopment duration, process cycle time, process quality, and process yield in defining a good process. The reasons why it's not possible to de- liver equally on these factors may not be clear to everyone. Process Development Duration It takes time to develop processes. In an ideal world, one would have access to a library of canned processes for every possible combina- STEPPING UP TO LASER PROCESSING FOR FLEX, PART 5: PROCESS DEVELOPMENT Figure 1: Many factors impact process tradeoff choices.

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