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48 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2021 Interview by Barry Matties I-CONNECT007 I-Connect007's newest columnist, Kim O'Neil of Prototron, shares his insights from more than 45 years of PCB manufacturing experience. Kim explains why it's so criti- cal for designers to begin working with their fabricators as early in the process as possible. He also details how managing and measuring design data has cut the number of errors over the years. Barry Matties: Kim, you've started writing a new column with I-Connect007 called Circuit Chronicles. Tell us about the basis of this col- umn. Kim O'Neil: I'm looking at it from the perspec- tive of a small business, a small fab shop opera- tion, and my experience over the 45 years that I've been involved in printed circuit boards, trying to draw on that and lay down some feel- ings I have, some ground rules, and what I think comes to the job. Matties: What are some of the angles or the important things that customers need to know from your point of view? O'Neil: ey need to know that they can call me. e communication between the fabrica- tor and the customer is critical. We deal with a lot of contract manufacturers, educating them on what we do and don't do, and talking to them on a personal level. You're not talking to an automated phone message, and this per- sonal interaction really establishes a business relationship. Dave Ryder, president of Prototron, had a philosophy, and we've carried it through. We have a point of contact who stays with custom- ers for years. You won't just get the next per- son when you put an RFQ in and establish that relationship. ere's a very good communica- tion network between the customer, inside sales, and our operations managers—Caesar Cruz and myself—about what we're really dealing with. Can we do it or not? ose types of things. We help the customer by educating them all the way through the process. 45+ Years of PCB Manufacturing Experience Kim O'Neil

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