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32 PCB007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2018 the challenges on the technology side. There are some nice features in there, but some of it is confidential. We had a couple of new de- velopments in this whole project, but what we can say is that the whole system is integrated with panel tracking. We have all kinds of data transfers, syncing the servers. Stepinski: We will have true single piece flow. Every substrate, every circuit board, every core has a unique 2D code. There are no batches. It's a batch of one across the whole factory. This is a unique thing that these guys helped with. Zeller: And that's what we incorporated in this whole setup with all kinds of camera systems, data connections throughout the handling ma- chines as well as the wet process machines to make this happen. Alex was good to work with; he knows what he wants, and I think we helped him a bit and he has a lot of good ideas. Goldman: Alex, what else can you tell us about this collaboration? Stepinski: AWP, for us, fills a great niche. They're automating all the equipment in the factory and they're doing a lot of the wet pro- cess equipment specifically the etching and the subtractive processes. They did this in a single-piece-flow way. It's a new development that is very special and unique. You don't have to run out the whole etch line to switch be- tween jobs. Most etchers in North America are extremely inefficient because of the switcho- ver [to a different] copper weight, so they've gotten past all this. Even our warehouse is au- tomated. One of the key features of the inner- layer side is we can take a core from an auto- mated warehouse, check it all along the way, pull the recipes automatically, provide the me- trology back to the database and it's finished in about an hour and 20 minutes through AOI. Goldman: Is this equipment installed now? Stepinski: The whole factory is about 30-35% installed right now. We've only just started with the AWP equipment. We're in the process of buying off our finished wet process equip- ment now while we're here in Europe. We have some automation on-site and our last purchase orders just came in recently, so it's going to be going on for another six months. However, we'll be in production in the spring before ev- ery piece is here from AWP because some of it is replacing something we already have. Every- thing that is really unique and critical with the operation we'll have sooner. Zeller: It was a very challenging project, but it was also nice to do a project like this again after so many years in the industry and hav- ing seen something like this, somebody with so much knowledge. To do a project like this was quite exciting for us, because we appre- ciate very much that we could also add more knowledge to this project and help put all this together. At this table we probably have 70+ years of PCB experience, so it's a good project. Stepinski: We honestly have very complementa- ry skillsets here. Jochen was in the automation side; he was in a board shop, CTO of Schmid, and now he has his own company. Henk has been all over the place—including managing director and chief engineer at Kuttler. All these skills have come together to make this happen. Goldman: Gentlemen, I appreciate your time and filling our readers in on this interesting collaboration. Let us know when it's time for an update. Alex: Thank you, Patty. We do appreciate it. PCB007 Equipment in the AWP booth at productronica sold to Whelen.

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