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14 PCB007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2018 rial handing focus helps us concen- trate on equipment that meets our over- arching require- ment, because we need to have equip- ment with 1-10 mil handling capabil- ities," said Nargi- Toth. "As an exam- ple, we do a lot of hole filling, and we have been using one type of equipment for many years. But it wasn't as adept at handling the thin materials. So, when we looked to add more capacity we evaluat - ed a different machine and found that gave us better fill, especially with those small holes, and was also better for handling thin material. The process, basically, is we have a need, we put together a proposal of what type of equip - ment we want to look at, we gather some sam- ples, we run samples, we evaluate them versus what w e have, and then decide. We've done that for our etching line, and we have done that for laser drilling. Basically, benchmarking new equipment against existing and looking at two or three different types of equipment from dif - ferent suppliers in the same category. We just purchased another laser drill, and in that case, we did a survey of what was out there, and we ended up buying another machine like the one we had, because it best met our needs." Being in the EMS business for about 35 years now, Turpin has already seen a lot of chang - es. According to him, in the old days—around 15 years or so back—an EMS firm could buy a set of equipment, and use the same set of equipment 10 years later. "Because technology just did not change that fast," he says. "Back in the old days, you had a lot more mom-and- pop shops. A lot of Tier 4s and Tier 3s, be - cause it wasn't as capital intensive back then. It was great for an EMS business, selling from the equipment standpoint. I wouldn't neces - sarily say 'the good old days,' but there'd be times where you bought the equipment, you could run the equipment, and things didn't change that much. And then we entered a pe- riod where there was a rate of change, and we were like this until relatively recently, where you knew that there was new technology out there, but you could wait for a program, a cus- tomer, or an opportunity to come along before you buy. It's like, 'Okay, I know that there are longer ovens out there. But if I get a 30-core lay- er board and it's a big enough program, I'll bite off and I'll buy a new oven.'" Over the past five years, Turpin says, you just don't need to wait for a program because there was enough research to figure out what you needed. "You had to become fast with the tech - nology to even know how you'd end up quot- ing, because you can't just buy the equipment and start using it the next day. You have to de- velop a process around it. You've got to learn ho w to do it. You've got to hire people. In the EMS world, we are driven more towards having a technology roadmap, where we do need to plot out emerging technologies. Not just on the process side, but on the component side. Com - ponent suppliers are coming out with some crazy stuff that influences the equipment you need to process it. It is just creeping more into the EMS side." As an example, Turpin said you cannot just get an oven only when you get a 34-layer board program. "You can't just have one oven, you need to have three ovens that can do heavy layer boards and highly integrated BGA tech - nology on those boards. You need more than one rework machine to be able to rework BGAs that are on that. You have to get out in front of that," Turpin says. One of the technologies that Zentech start - ed looking at a year ago was cleaning technol- ogy. "We spent six months just looking at all the differ ent versions. It used to be you'd see a couple of LGAs, a QFN, on a board. We've got some with hundreds of LGAs on a board now, and it forces you to a completely different cleaning paradigm where you can sort of clean it with the old stuff, but not really. So, you real - ly need to look at new technologies all the time. Kathy Nargi-Toth, Eltek USA

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