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14 PCB007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2018 four and five decimal places, where three was about it in the past. It's getting to be a lot more particular. We're also seeing parts from sever- al years ago that have been in stock for two to three years, and then I'll scrutinize them and find that what was acceptable then may or may not be today. I think it's changed that much. And the other thing we are seeing is more cus- tomers sending parts out for third-party test- ing, just like you would for space flight prior to being accepted. Osborn: Most of that arises when they've had a manufacturing problem, not necessarily with our boards, but with one of the other suppliers. Feinberg: I think that going from two decimal places to five decimal places, or three to five, that's huge. That's a quantum jump in specs. Osborn: It is. But as you know, the trend is to build smaller, and it must meet certain cri- teria, and with the new components, features have really shrunk. But we're here taking on huge challenges every day knowing that next week a whole new set of challenges will ma- terialize. Feinberg: I know reliability trends relate to specs on what customers are demanding of you as a fabricator, but what are you seeing as far as raw material challenges, and what are you then passing on to your suppliers of raw materials as far as demands? Osborn: The answer to that question is the abil- ity to get laminate. In many cases we can, and I'm sure you have heard of the horror stories with Rogers. When they're out to 30, 40, or 50 days on delivery and you're in a quick-turn market, that makes it extremely difficult to compete. We just tried a new material at a cus- tomer's suggestion called Astra, sold here in the states by Isola. But as we're learning, it has its own set of issues that we were totally un- aware of because we had never used this lam- inate before. As you know, Dan, the grain direction of the material plays a role in potential warpage. Co- lonial, for the past five years, has only pur- chased material with the grain in the long di- mension. This time period has allowed us to build an extensive library of data on dimen- sional stability surrounding our standard lam- inates. Unbeknownst to us, the Astra is only available with the grain in the short direction, meaning we were unable to predict the out- come! After two or three unsuccessful fabrica- tion attempts, we finally nailed it. Even the ability to obtain regular material has proven difficult, particularily with flight work. Polyimide-aramid-NT is a popular lami- nate used for this application, but the 4-5 week lead time on delivery is not appealing to our better customers. Feinberg: Where is the Astra material made? Osborn: China. Feinberg: Any indication that, with the demand going up, there might be some made in the U.S. again at some point? Osborn: I hope that some of that comes back, but at this moment we're not hearing anything from our supplier. Rodney Krick: The only thing I can offer as far as materials and what we've seen over the short term, particularly with RF, is that we Figure 1: Colonial Circuits is located in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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