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20 PCB007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2018 wish it was 100% of the time we or somebody else could get involved. I would say 25–30% of the time we just get what we get, and we try to make it work." There is a difference depending on if it is a commercial or military/medical application. "On the commercial side, it is more transac - tional. You may never meet the designer un- less they have a problem and they may already be on Rev B or C. Unfortunately, the manufac- turer is now coming in after the fact and try- ing to make changes, which is more difficult and wasteful," says Nargi-Toth. "But for sure, in some of the new programs in mil/aero, or in medical, we often find that the OEM already knows they need assistance, and they want to reach across the table and engage early. They have a history of positive experiences with col - laborative efforts that have produced success- ful projects that were on-time and met the com- mercial targets and they want to build on this positiv e experience." Conclusion When it comes to making decisions on in- vesting in new equipment, manufacturers should have some sort of an evaluation proce- dure, according to Nargi-Toth. "I think most companies do ha ve a procedure when they evaluate new materials and new equipment. Obviously, they need to know what the end goal is for the equipment," says Nar - gi-Toth. "If it's a bottleneck fix, the leadership should come fr om operations and engineering. The decision is based on what is needed to im- prove productivity for one process or another. If it is technical development, advancing the pro- cess based on a current need that has already been identified, then engineering and product development are tasked with developing the evaluation criteria. And if it is something that is needed for a next generation product following a roadmap such as what Matt talked about, the company needs to do some research to better understand what's out there today and what is being worked on and may be available in 12- 24 months." First, manufacturers must define what type of equipment they need and what they are trying to accomplish. Once that's done, it's time for a project plan to evaluate what's avail- able. "Even if we're talking about some of the sim- plest equipment in fabrication, we're talking $250,000. If I want to go out and buy a new automatic plater, we're talking about $5 mil - lion. It's a lot of money to invest, and you're not going to do it by just running a few sam- ples," says Nargi-Toth. "It all needs to begin with a pr oject plan and a solid understanding of what the goals are for the new equipment. Once that has been established you can deter - mine how you're going to evaluate the avail- able technologies to make sure that you're making the corr ect decision and purchasing the right piece of equipment for your particu- lar needs." Turpin agrees. "Everything that Kathy said would apply to not just the EMS business, but, I would say, to any problem that any - body is trying to solve. Don't buy a piece of capital equipment unless you know what prob- lem you're trying to solve, whether it's a tech- nology problem, whether it's a process prob- lem. Maybe it is an efficiency problem. Know what y ou're trying to solve, and then, whether it's your evaluation requirements with the ca - pex supplier, share those goals with them and how you're going to evaluate it," says Turpin. "Certainly, for a project plan, make sure that you're checking for that, and in your turn-up of the process, that the problems you're trying to solve are the processes you're developing, and I think most companies do have a procedure when they evaluate new materials and new equipment. Obviously, they need to know what the end goal is for the equipment.

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