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10 PCB007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2018 Feature interview by Barry Matties GreenSource Fabrication VP and factory ar- chitect Alex Stepinski took Barry Matties on a walkthrough tour of the GreenSource Fabrica- tion facility. Alex and Barry discuss processes, equipment, facility design, typical manufactur- ing methods in the United States, and a myri- ad of other topics. A common theme highlights Alex's constant attention to the needs of the future for GreenSource and his customers. In this interview, we present some key excerpts from that conversation where Alex shares his vision for the future, and how this influenced the GreenSource facility's new methods. Barry Matties: Alex, thanks for the tour today. GreenSource will be arguably the most auto- mated and advanced high-density interconnect (HDI) fabrication facilities in North America. It's also zero discharge, zero waste, and capa- ble of single-panel lot sizes. Let's start by dis- cussing how far forward into the future you chose to aim your factory design efforts. Alex Stepinski: The whole factory is designed for 10 years out. We're years ahead of others in developing this technology because there is no push for it from other U.S. fabricators. For ex- ample, we are years ahead of everybody in this part of the world with plating. The equipment investment was a big deal but building a whole factory to take advantage of it is another level entirely. Anybody can buy a horizontal plater, but how do you take advantage of the capabil- ity? One thing we did was build everything in this factory around plating. Plating is usually an afterthought, except that plating is the most complex thing you will do in a board shop. For everything else, there's a solution. You can buy a laser drill or an imager; there are 10 differ- ent suppliers for those things. Plating is always what destroys circuit board shops. Matties: When we ask people in our surveys what the greatest challenge is, wet process plating is among the top. But with the age of computer control, you're starting fresh, while a company built in the '80s or '90s could be stuck in a rut. How do they get out of it? Stepinski: I don't think it's that hard. The key is to invest money in research: travel, visit other facilities and vendors, and find ideas. If you're a small shop, you can build a small plating line that does what ours does, and it doesn't cost that much money. Meanwhile, there's no rea- son larger companies can't have all this. This GreenSource Fabrication: Looking to the Future Alex Stepinski, GreenSource Fabrication vice president and facility designer.

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