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38 SMT007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2019 conductor world; we see signs of this already with PCB shops and semiconductor compa- nies investigating how to jointly implement cheaper materials and have smarter utilization of the real estate of the materials. Again, we also see higher levels of auto- mation, but simply adding automation is not always the only answer; it has to be efficient and fit the purpose with the clear goal of mak- ing improvements and saving costs. It's not just about increasing the quality or structure or how the material is handled; you need to have a good payback on it. Another trend we see is working smarter by implementing more intelligence at the front end to auto-analyze customer design data sets so that they can be translated faster, yet at the same time, maintaining the built-in intel- ligence that comes with that design data from the customer. That helps establish a faster and higher communication level with end-users in the build-up to the production stage, and it also increases the customer's confidence in the PCB manufacturer that they can respond quickly and efficiently to any sort of issue that might arise during the manufacturing; of course, that's key for end-users. And we see PCB companies themselves developing into assembly. Of course, this can put their existing relationships with assem- bly shops or EMS companies under pressure. But the overall story we hear is that over time, it gives them a much stronger and more sta- ble customer base not only in terms of price advantage and better product knowledge but the PCB is not just another component; it becomes a more advanced device that's com- plex to manufacture and understand by those not involved in manufacturing. Finally, we see more momentum with inkjet solder mask after a long and winding develop- ment path. There's widespread interest from customers who understand that although it will still take some time, it's the only way for- ward that's visible on the solder mask road- map today. Starkey: Currently, what is your area of great- est concern? Bodegom: The lack of understanding by the authorities with regard to what the industry can achieve with new developments in the near future, such as automotive. We do a lot of work in the German-speaking region, and auto- motive is the greatest part of that work. If you look at the emission regulations put in place by politicians who constantly give clear evi- dence that they're not in touch with this indus- try, it is worrying. Some of the milestones that have been set are going to be very difficult to achieve; it's already putting the industry under pressure. The industry understands it has to change, and it's doing it at a pace that's diffi- cult to judge whether it should be faster, but there's definitely a willingness. The main challenge we see is that the author- ities are not wanting to understand or to be in any way sympathetic to the industry regard- ing the pace at which it can implement those changes. For example, BMW's CEO has recently confirmed that we won't be getting much more range out of battery-driven vehicles. We also have to think critically about the environmen- tal impact of battery production and what will happen at end-of-life. We're also creating vehi- cles that weigh over 2,500 kilograms to trans- port one human being; we're going to have to take that seriously. Starkey: André, many thanks for sharing your time today. Bodegom: Thank you, Pete. SMT007 The industry understands it has to change, and it's doing it at a pace that's difficult to judge whether it should be faster, but there's definitely a willingness.

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