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10 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2018 have some sort of an evaluation procedure. But first and foremost, she says companies should know what the end goal for the equipment is. "If it's a bottleneck fix, the leadership should come from operations and engineering. The decision is based on what is needed to improve productivity for one process or another. If it is technical development, and advancing the process based on a current need that has already been identified, then engineering and product development are tasked with develop- ing the evaluation criteria. And if it is some- thing that is needed for a next generation prod- uct following a roadmap, the company should conduct research to better understand what's out there and what is being worked on and may be available in 12-24 months," she explains. Matt Turpin, president and CEO of Zentech Manufacturing, meanwhile, says companies should not buy a piece of capital equipment unless they know what problem they're trying to solve—whether it's a technology problem or it's a process problem. "Maybe it is an effi- ciency problem. Know what you're trying to solve, and then, whether it's your evaluation requirements with the capex supplier, share those goals with them and how you're going to evaluate it," says Turpin. I spoke briefly with Victor J.S. Chang, exec- utive director of WKK, during the recent HKPCA & IPC Show in China. He says in this extremely competitive environment, the deci- sion to invest in new equipment is based on how companies can streamline their produc- tion in terms of technology and management. Companies nowadays have more choices of new equipment that are smarter and offer more advanced functions to help them manage their processes better. He notes that trends like Industry 4.0 and the move towards auto- mation provide manufacturers visibility and better understanding of what's happening on the production floor. This, in turn, is what's driving equipment manufacturers to become more competitive and put more R&D effort into improving their equipment designs. In our recent survey on this month's topic, one of the questions we asked focused on the

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