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8 PCB007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2021 CapEx: Spending Money to Make Money We started out planning this issue with one central question in mind: What are the best CapEx strategies for PCB fabricators? As the saying goes, "at depends…" Should you follow a formula, say, investing 15% of revenue each year in capital expenditures? Are your plans guided by your need to add capacity, or do you want to up your technol- ogy game so you can expand into new mar- kets? Maybe you just want to replace outdated equipment that's costing you in wasted energy and labor man-hours? As you'll see in this month's issue, the answer may be "all of the above." We found that there are a variety of CapEx strategies, and one size definitely does not fit all PCB fabricators. Right off the bat, several fabrica- tors refused to say one word on the record about their C a p E x p l a n s , e v e n a t a 30,000-foot level. ey con- sider that information to be their IP, and there's no point in giving away state secrets. And, while the term "CapEx" summons up images of new pieces of room-filling equip- ment, we found that CapEx planning now includes other expenses such as IT, consul- tants, and high-end cybersecurity, especially for companies in the defense and aerospace segments. For years, we've heard grumbling from fabricators about the cost of being NIST- 800-certified, but that's the cost of doing Mil- Aero work. One of the primary messages we heard repeatedly is that fabricators should not be afraid to spend money on equipment and processes that can save them money and labor in the long run. Fabricators are a notoriously conservative bunch of folks; with the margins they're dealing with, they really must be. M a n y b o a r d s h o p owners would prefer to have a root canal over purchasing new equip - ment; the y 'd r ather keep repair ing the older equipment as it The Shaughnessy Report by Andy Shaughnessy, I-CONNECT007

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