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44 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2020 Interview by Nolan Johnson I-CONNECT007 As a components supplier turned electronic solutions provider, Molex has a great perspec- tive on the challenges of getting from design to successful manufacturing. Nolan Johnson spoke with the Molex team, including Jim Hines, Frank Ruffino, and Brett Rickett, about what the industry needs to know. Nolan Johnson: Let's start with a quick over- view of Molex. Jim Hines: As both a components supplier and electronic solutions provider, we have visibil- ity into the challenges faced by both the OEM design team in selecting the correct component for an application and the CM responsible for attaching the component to the PCB. Frank Ruffino: For many different markets, like automotive, medical, industrial, consumer goods, etc. Johnson: That puts you in a unique position. You have a chance to talk about the connector side of the business as well as the design side. Hines: Correct. Design engineers, OEMs, and CMs need to know that they can rely on and count on their manufacturing provider. A lot of times, customers will have projects, and their designer engineers may not be aware of all the industry-established specifications or testing requirements. And with us having visibility and experience as both a component supplier as well as a complete PCBA electronic solutions provider, we understand a lot of those industry PCBA manufacturing and testing requirements and specifications. At times, customers—let's take an automotive application—will get an RFQ or a new project request, and we conduct an internal review of the project and manufacturing and testing require- ments. During that review, we may see a customer requirement on conformal coating coverage or thickness. At times, the customer may have spec- ified a PCBA manufacturing requirement or test procedure that is either less stringent than typical industry standards or, at times, even more strin- gent. It's often up to us to help explain why a customer specification is not typical of industry requirements, to inform them about the typical requirements and testing, discuss how their spec- ified requirements could impact the product reli- ability or manufacturing costs, and finally offer options to the customer that they may not have been aware of previously. Johnson: That's a great point. Over-specifying your design and creating a cost that is then passed along to the end price for your prod- uct is not what anybody wants. How do you communicate that message? Hines: It can be challenging, but it's a matter of sitting down with the customer and explaining Molex on Connectors and Successful Manufacturing Frank Ruffino Jim Hines

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