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10 The PCB Magazine • August 2017 Patricia Goldman is managing editor of The PCB Magazine. To contact Goldman, click here. HOW DO YOU DEFINE PROCESS STEP ELIMINATION AND AUTOMATION? he could meet Whelen's criteria was with a fully automated line such that a minimum number of people were needed and all materials were recy- cled. For this issue, we decided to check in and find out what's happening and how it's working out. We talked with Alex and that conversation is our lead article this month. Steve Williams of The Right Approach Consulting introduces us to a new concept, W.O.R.C. cells, developed specifically for high- mix, low-volume operations…like yours. Steve discusses the three types of cells—physical, vir- tual and hybrid—and goes into detail on setting this up, complete with a couple of case studies. You'll learn what W.O.R.C. stands for and can decide for yourself if this makes sense for your company. Columnist Marc Ladle, Viking Test, came away from a recent factory install in Europe im- pressed by the inkjet technology he saw and he wanted to share with us. The process for prima- ry image he describes eliminates not just the art- work but also the developing step—and can be fully automated. A very interesting paper was presented at IPC this spring by ESI (Schrauben, et al.) that describes using glass as a substrate for high-fre- quency PCB applications. The process involves laser etching to create the circuit pattern fol- lowed by laser deposition of copper. Perhaps still in its infancy, but the capability for ex- tremely fine features makes it a definite consid- eration. We all know the importance of eliminating waste, at least what we call "scrap." But what about wasted time and energy? How is that ac- counted for? Or do we mostly just accept it as a necessary? You may have heard it before, but Todd Kolmodin of Gardien Services reviews the 5S system for us and admonishes us with the adage, "work smarter, not harder." It might be time (or past time) to apply this to your work- place. Switching gears, a bit, Omni PCB's Tara Dunn discusses ways to drive cost from flex de- signs. It may not be that simple, but there are a few basics that can help, focusing on fab capa- bilities, material choices and communications. Note that reducing cost almost always results in reduced time and waste—surprise! Now to the off-theme, but technical por- tion of the magazine…and we have a couple of good ones. First, Mike Carano, RBP Technolo- gy, moves away from troubleshooting and gives us an introduction to microvias and HDI. HDI is the subject of an upcoming IPC conference (see Events page near the end of the magazine), which may have gotten Mike started on this subject. In another technical paper, from MacDer- mid (Dharmarathna, et al.), the focus is on acid copper for a vertical continuous electroplating process. Extensive performance and testing data are presented. With a tongue-in-cheek title, NTS's Keith Sellers talks about the rather serious subject of traceability. Some end customers don't care, but in the automotive, medical and military/aero - space arenas it is becoming an increasing neces- sity. Can you trace a defective PCB back to the day and time it was processed—and know all the processing parameters that were in play then? While such a scenario may not happen, the idea is that there is a troubleshooting advantage to having ultimate traceability . Wrapping up is IPC's John Mitchell with a report on the manufacturing industry in India. With a population to rival China and engineers to match, only a poor infrastructure seems to be holding India back. In fact, India is expected to be a top five manufacturing nation by 2020 (note: that's just around the corner). OK, enough for one month. Digest this month's issue and put into practice what you can. And, heads up, next month it's all about process engineering. What is it, what do those guys do, and what should they be doing? We'll try to answer it all and give them a boost at the same time. Tune in, pay attention and for sure you've already subscribed, right? Don't make me tell you again! PCB

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