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66 PCB007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2019 Interview by Barry Matties I-CONNECT007 Barry Matties and Rick Nichols, process en- gineering director at AWP, discuss process con- trol, including why it's important to establish a baseline and embrace new technology. Barry Matties: From a process control engineer- ing point of view, what do you think people need to know about their process? Rick Nichols: The most important thing they need to know about the process is the base- line. They need to achieve a baseline from which they can make adjustments to keep and dial into. If you start without a baseline, you just get lost. You have to alter to get the result you need, but as little as possible. You need a baseline from which you can deviate, but try not to deviate too much. Matties: You have to have an intention to cap- ture a baseline rather than just process data, so there's a difference. Nichols: Absolutely, because with typical chem- istry, you usually have temperature and concen- tration of multiple parts, like processing time. Matties: There are environmental aspects. Nichols: Correct. There are tactics. If you do a wide range of products, you have lots of pos- sibilities to change stuff, but it's much better to change the dwell time and temperature and keep everything else the same. In an electro- less process, for example, you may wish to in- crease or decrease your deposit thickness, and that is best achieved by extending or decreas- ing dwell time rather than changing the chemi- cal aspects of the bath. Matties: A lot of these now are still manually controlled processes. In the U.S. and Germany, we're going to start seeing more and more IoT, digital factories, and Industry 4.0 movement. We see more of that right now on the assembly side than we do on the bare board side. From a process point-of-view, what do you need to know to become a digital factory? Process Control Essentials in the Plating Line

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