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28 PCB007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2021 Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team When we began looking into CapEx strat- egies for PCB manufacturing, we ran into a few company owners who were proud of making their old fabrication equipment last for decades. We recently spoke about CapEx planning with Alex Stepinski, former VP of GreenSource Fabrication, who built a zero- wastewater PCB fabrication facility from the ground up. As Alex explains, your old equipment might actually last for decades, and if you need new equipment, you might find what you're look- ing for in another industry. Barry Matties: I've mentioned this in sev- eral interviews, but oentimes I hear fabrica- tors bragging that they're building boards on a 20-year-old piece of equipment, as if that's a win of some sort. What are your thoughts on that? Alex Stepinski: Well, a 20-year-old piece of equipment is one thing, because you could be using a 20-year-old piece of equipment if it has decent controls. It's really about the control level of the equipment. When we talk about age, you could buy new equipment 20 years ago that will still be work- ing today, and some of it works quite well. It's just a matter of the type of controls that you put on it. Really, the value is in the engineering work that was done on that tool: How much engineering work was done, how was the capability developed, how well- understood is the tool? If you have a well-understood tool, it could be 50 years old; you just need to be able to adjust controls or not. As long as you under- stand them, maybe you could adjust other aspects to compensate. It's really about doing due diligence in process engineering. Matties: If we're talking about adding sen- sors, you have to be able to incorporate them into that aged equipment. You had a thought, Happy? Do You Really Need to Buy New Equipment? Alex Stepinski

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