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26 PCB007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2018 Thus, Whelen Engineering Company con- cluded that printed circuit manufacturing pro- cesses based in the U.S. could be significant- ly improved, and offer higher quality, lower costs, and rapid delivery on finished PCBs. Lean and Green The new PCB factory, GreenSource Fabrica- tion, in Charlestown, New Hampshire, is an ex- cellent example of Lean principles. In the pro- cess of automating the PCB flow and eliminat- ing waste, they produced a facility with zero effluents, thus, also becoming an excellent ex- ample of a green fabrication facility. "Lean and green" went hand-in-hand. The over-riding strategy of Lean and green (zero discharge) has not changed, but the tech- nology, focus on customers, and equipment have. The growth in inner layer production to support multilayers up to 36 layers—whereas multilayer made up 1% of the original captive facility—is significant. One should also note the commitment to substrate-like PCBs (SLPs) and high-density interconnect (HDI) features Feature by Happy Holden I-CONNECT007 Not much has changed in printed circuit multilayer manufacturing in the last 50 years except that the equipment is more mecha- nized and streamlined, the processes much more stable, and high-volume PCB manufac- turing has moved to China. But now, an OEM has finally found a way to build PCBs in the United States for less than buying them from Asia. Whelen Engi- neering Company of Connecticut is a world- wide supplier of aviation and automotive emergency lighting. Whelen was buying all of its circuit boards from China, while every other part of their manufacturing is done in- house. The supply pipeline duration and in - tellectual property (IP) concerns continually upset their schedules. Further, costs were in- creasing in China. Whelen managers decid- ed to take another look at the old PCB manu- facturing process and apply what they knew about Six Sigma and Lean manufacturing. Innovative PCB Processes are Lean and Green

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