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70 The PCB Magazine • May 2017 some sort of knowledge of the company before you get there. It shows them that you care and you're interested, as well. Goldman: What have the last couple of years been like? I'm sure you've learned a lot, not just about circuit boards, but also about your customers. Hammesfahr: There are good days and bad days, but I've enjoyed it and I plan to stick with it. Every customer is different. They all have dif- ferent requirements and want different things. When it comes to circuit board manufacturing, some customers will only buy stateside. With other customers, pricing is more of a require- ment for them. Especially when you're dealing with higher volumes and whatnot. It's all about knowing your customers and how you can help them. Goldman: Tell me a little bit about Amitron and what you're finding with the company. Hammesfahr: We're a great company. Amitron has been in the industry for a little more than 30 years, with a 72,000-square-foot factory in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, just outside of Chi- cago. Amitron produces single-sided to 30-lay- er rigid circuit boards at any volume with flex- ible lead times. We have been growing and re- cently brought in new personnel for our en- gineering and quality control departments to help improve our quality and service to our cus- tomers. We also have a second factory in India which allows us to be more competitive in pric- ing. Plus, we have more control over the pro- cess and easier communication partnering with them rather than other offshore manufacturers where you never know how these boards are be- ing produced. Goldman: Is that where your volume work goes, to India? Hammesfahr: Mostly. ITAR work is always done stateside. We try to keep everything stateside as much as possible—that's first and foremost. When you're going against some of these high- er runners that are going against China, it gets competitive. Goldman: The company in India is your sister com- pany then, and they're doing their own thing, shall we say? You're not just feeding them, but they're feeding themselves, more or less? Hammesfahr: Pretty much. They're their own separate entity, but our owner owns both facil- ities. We do have a good line of contact with them. Even with the language barrier, commu- nication is never an issue. We have a direct line of communication with them when it comes to trying to find an order, and figuring out where everything is. It's really been helpful. I've dealt with some China shops in the past and it was a little tougher to get feedback from them. It's been a nice niche for us. Goldman: How about the level of technology? What are your customers requesting? Hammesfahr: Besides price decreases, there's a lot of quick-turn prototypes. I think nowadays A CONVERSATION WITH AN INDUSTRY TWENTY-SOMETHING

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