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84 PCB007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2020 Interview by Nolan Johnson I-CONNECT007 I interviewed Mike Coll, COO of Denkai America, about the copper foil and substrate market, the recent acquisition of the company by Nippon, and what they're doing to respond to very small feature sizes. Nolan Johnson: Mike, give us a quick introduc- tion to your role. Michael Coll: I'm the COO of Denkai Ameri- ca. We're the United States' only electrodepos- it and copper foil manufacturer. We were re- cently acquired by Nippon Denkai (ND) from Japan. Nippon Denkai translates to "Japan Electroplating." When they acquired us, we became Denkai America or "Electroplating America." Johnson: Where are your facilities located? Coll: We are about 30 miles northeast of Co- lumbia, South Carolina, and our parent, ND, is located about 50 miles northeast of Tokyo. Johnson: Manufacturing copper foil in the U.S.: What are some of the particular challeng- es that you face? Coll: We've been making copper foil in North America since 1976, and it was under the prior ownership of Mitsui Mining and Smelting, also known as Mitsui Kinzoku. In April this year, we were sold to ND. We've been operating un- der new ownership, without their presence, as this transition occurred just at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Needless to say, this is not ideal for our integration. As for ongoing manufacturing, when our facility was built in the early 2000s, our factory was set up to be a high-volume copper manufacturer for a limited set of products; at that time, our focus was the high-volume PCB industry in North America. The Copper Foil Market Is Anything But Flat

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