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72 SMT Magazine • April 2017 dustry experts helps our customers, we guide them through the design process, into new product introduc- tion (NPI), while we help them to build a supply chain that propels their time to market to maximize their time in the market. Las Marias: The aerospace/defense electronics industry is typical of a high- mix/low-volume production model. How does VirTex manage the variety of high-reliability work in assembly lines geared for only a few line changes? Singh: The level changeover required and scalabil- ity depends on the customer. At VirTex we utilize our in-house software solution to customize an execution program. This allows us to minimize set-up times and changeover times with com - monality of different families. VirTex has been working with technology customers for over 20 years and through experience, we have an exten- sive portfolio to draw from in terms of standard- izing the execution and trying to minimize the effect on the lead-time for our customers. Las Marias: Do you see the rigid-flex PCB segment growing in terms of adoption in the military/aero- space electronics field? Singh: For VirTex, about 95% of work is rigid. Less than 5% would be rigid flex. Flex, by it- self, has a component of rigid attached to it. That's not to say that there are no applications out there that are using strictly flex. But, at Vir- Tex, we are witnessing a trend towards FR4 rig- id PCBs, versus non-rigid or flex components. The application of flex itself as a flex mate- rial is more of a specific application need; you cannot make the whole FR4 flex, such as a con- trol board or landing gear board, or a commu- nication control board strictly on flex materi- al; you simply cannot do this at present. So flex is application specific. Hence, VirTex is utilizing rigid and rigid-flex FR4 boards for our day-to- day operations. Las Marias: Given the long period for developing wins in aerospace/defense electronics contracting, how does VirTex balance that strategic business development effort in aero- space/defense with more immediate opportunities in non-military markets you serve, like medical and industrial electronics? Singh: The simple answer to this is, that's the beauty of our execution. You are absolutely right that some of the defense and aerospace appli- cations have a longer development cycle than other high reliability markets. The conversion cycle for automotive and industrial applications is getting shorter and shorter, as these markets drive efficiencies through the supply chain to maximize their time in the market and yield. VirTex serves all major electronic market segments, as we have significant bandwidth and experience to execute customer require- ments across a diverse portfolio. One of your earlier questions is what OEMs look for in their EMS partner. The perfect EMS partner is the one who is flexible enough to quickly adapt to the market trends and custom- er requirements. That's what VirTex takes pride in. We are dynamic and responsive and that's what differentiates VirTex from most of the oth- er EMS providers. If you look at the larger Tier-1 or Tier-2 EMS companies, you can understand why they must have rigid production boundaries. VirTex, on the other hand, can adjust its strategies and move with a customer or industry requirements for growth. Las Marias: What is the greatest challenge with ITAR? Singh: Once you have put the controls in place, in terms of assessment, training, IT con- trol, back up, controlling the data and licens- ing, it operates smoothly. If a company is going through the process for the first time, my ad- vice would be to do your due diligence and put in place processes, controls, and licenses. I per- sonally wouldn't call the process challenging, it just puts a requirement onto the applicant to focus and strategize. If something is worth VIRTEX ON MILITARY AND AEROSPACE ELECTRONICS REQUIREMENTS Upinder Singh

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