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26 PCB007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2020 We're doing a lot of semi-additive processing work for different applications. We're doing high-stack microvias with very good reliability. This was also something lacking in the U.S. market. We brought this over here, and with these capabilities, we got interest from OEMs. "How do I get something like this for myself? How do I use you as a third party?" We've also had interest where OEMs asked us to take ad- vantage of the equipment company we bought and offer them a whole factory solution. We have a couple of projects where we're designing factories for OEMs—one on the East Coast, and one on the West Coast—and then a couple that we're having preliminary discus- sions with right now. This seems to be a nice niche that no one is covering right now. You could go to an OEM and say, "I can give you a factory customized to your products. It's a 21 st century mindset. It's green, automated, and flexible. You can run rigid, flex, and back- planes in the same line. It's a holistic approach to things." There's a lot of interest in this, so we're moving our equipment business to focus on this market. Matties: You have the blueprint for the factory, but is the challenge finding the skill and exper- tise of a labor force to manage and run that? Stepinski: Our approach is that we have a tech center in New Hampshire. If you're an OEM, you send your people. We train them here and get them up to speed. You don't put up a facto- ry in a day. Usually, when someone comes to us, it's a year before they're willing to accept equipment because they have to put up a shell; get everything together for electrical service, HVAC, etc.; get the con- crete poured; get their permits, etc. You come to us, and we can take some of your designs, prove everything out, customize your specifications, and train your work- force while that's all happening. Matties: Interestingly, if you're training your workforce as it's happening, that workforce is also part of the construction of the factory. They're going to have some in-depth knowledge of the facility. Stepinski: It's a nice business model. It's unique. We're not aware of anyone else who has such a model in the world. We have a showroom training center. We're building the factory and then—based on the experience in the showroom, tech center, and training cen- ter—you customize the equipment for their ap- plications. Matties: Do you think this is the beginning of a trend? Stepinski: Yes, generally speaking, OEMs are not that satisfied with the supply chain situ- ation right now. COVID-19 has caused a lot of people to be upset and wish they had their own captive fab. I'm not sure if this is across the board, as most of the people we talk to are mid-tier players, but if you're a huge OEM, you command everybody's attention, and ev- erybody jumps when you say jump. If you're a mid-tier or a smaller OEM, sometimes it's tough to find a place in the market. It becomes very interesting to have your own captive en- tity—especially if you're trying to differentiate your products from others—but job shops still lend themselves to that. Matties: And there's also the financial gain. What sort of percentage or advantage would somebody have financially from a captive fa- cility?

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