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SEPTEMBER 2020 I PCB007 MAGAZINE 37 sence tied to it. The more we can provide them with training systems that are readily available and utilize our training expertise and compe- tencies, the more they'll appreciate that. Being able to jump off during an hour of downtime, tap into even an LMS-type learning situation, pick up a course, and learn how to operate a machine will be very valuable. That's going to be a trend, not just because of COVID-19, but because our new environment is going to re- quire a lot more of that as a training solution. Turchan: Hopefully, later this year, we'll launch an e-learning platform marketed toward all manufacturers—not just the electronics indus- try—with a library of about 550 skills and dif- ferent technical competencies; everything from toolmaking to Six Sigma, Lean manufactur- ing, safety, engineering drawings, automation, CNC, and soft skills to compliment that. Hope- fully, employers can see the value that employ- ees with stronger soft skills are also more ef- ficient employees. Obviously, a more efficient employee adds to your bottom line. Montana-Beard: There are so many questions unanswered. How do we move forward? Will we be open in two weeks? What if there's a COVID-19 outbreak within our company? How do we plan for a requirement that an entire de- partment has to disappear for two weeks? We could do this now, but can we do it next week? How do you plan and react as quickly as the environment changes? Johnson: It's a challenge to stick to your road- map when the geography is constantly chang- ing underneath you. We are all flexing together to meet the new challenges. Turchan: From a supply and demand planning perspective, especially in electronics manufac- turing, we need to be more agile and reactive. We don't know what the next shift is going to be. I'm hoping that manufacturers are more forward-thinking about training their employ- ees and providing a way for their employees to get more upskilled to increase their internal value. Johnson: Thanks, everyone. This has been an enlightening conversation. Dill: Thanks for all your time, Nolan. PCB007 New research from a collaboration between MTU and Argonne National Laboratory further improves optical signal processing, which could lead to the fabrication of even smaller fiber-optic devices. (Source: MTU) Researchers at Michigan Technological University (MTU) have mapped a noise-reducing magneto-optical re- sponse that occurs in fiber-optic communications, open- ing the door for new materials technologies. Optical signals produced by laser sources are exten- sively used in fiber-optic communications, which work by pulsing information packaged as light through cables, even at great distances, from a transmitter to a receiver. Through this technology, it is possible to transmit telephone conversations, in- ternet messages, and cable television images. The great advantage of this technology over electrical signal transmission is its bandwidth—namely, the amount of information that can be broadcast. Tiny Circuits, Long Distances: Smaller Light Processing Devices for Fiber-Optic Communication

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