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30 PCB007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2019 cals is a highly restrictive process for a lot of fabricators. Milad: That is true. If I'm using chemistry from a certain supplier, and it's not meeting my needs, and I want to change to a different sup- plier, it is very important that the supplier can fit their chemistry into my existing equipment and does not force me to buy new equipment. I think that's what Richard was referring to. Johnson: Pardon me for showing a lack of understanding of chemical engineering, but what goes into lining up the chemistries like that? For somebody who isn't a chemistry ex - pert working with PCB fabrication, what is so different about the chemistries currently un- der development compared to what they used to be? Milad: If you're talking about under develop- ment, that is one thing. We were just talking about making the chemistry fit the existing equipment, but that's a different issue after the development of chemical processes to meet new board designs. Designers are coming up with things that the present chemistries cannot meet, so they are moving forward with new chemistries to meet the designs. The new de- signs have much tighter lines and spaces and much smaller holes for next-generation, 5G- type products. Johnson: How do you change the chemistry for that? Milad: We have a substantial R&D team that is always looking forward to the next challenge, so they are very busy developing new prod- ucts. It's not changing chemistries; instead, it's a new set of products. Usually, they are de- signed to fit existing equipment. Sometimes, new equipment might be advantageous, but most of the time, they would develop products that fit the existing equipment. For example, Uyemura is developing a gold bath that is cyanide-free, which is important; it's not a requirement today, but it will be in the near future. We're also developing chem- istries that are formaldehyde-free because it's a hazardous chemical too. It is in use, and it's not prohibited, but people are expecting that it will be and should be. There's this direction based on meeting environmental needs, and then there is the development that is designed to meet more complex and sophisticated de- signs. We work on both ends to provide the chemistry for next-generation that will meet new environmental requirements. Johnson: I know I'm talking in generalities here, but how long does it take to develop new chemistry like that? Milad: The work in R&D is continuous. In gen- eral, Uyemura has about 60 people working in R&D, and they all have projects, looking forward, and are working to develop next- generation products. Sometimes, they devel - op them fast, but other times, it takes a while. It might work straight away when they try it, or they have to go back to the drawing board and redesign the product. It takes years to de- velop and test a product that is ready for the market. The most important thing is that the market is constantly changing. This cycle is never go- ing to end. It's not like all of a sudden, there will be no demands on the design and the en- vironment; the demands are going to continue indefinitely. Once I meet the design criteria of today with my chemical wet process, the next generation of design is going to come, and I'll have to catch up with the designer and provide the chemistry they need. As soon as I'm there, Designers are coming up with things that the present chemistries cannot meet, so they are moving forward with new chemistries to meet the designs.

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