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46 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2022 Johnson: You've been developing expertise with the exotic materials? Stevenson: We've had a lot of success stories as of late, but in some of the hybrid builds, which we had shied away from for a long time. Matties: More demand for that? Stevenson: More demand, and customers are also willing to pay for them. ey understand that it's not easy and that the materials are ex- pensive. But when they're able to condense digital in a RF type product into one board, it cuts down their footprints and costs. Matties: What's the challenge? Stevenson: For us it is getting to the point where it's the same as everything else, but it flows through the shop in a similar type of manner. It's more of a fear factor for the operators who don't know it. ey hear that it's difficult and challenging and, for a lot of them, they're say- ing, "I don't want to touch it. I don't want that scrap on me. at's expensive material, expen- sive orders, and I don't feel comfortable. Some- body else can do it." Even experienced opera- tors who haven't really had their hands in it are leery of it. More exposure and cross-training is helping us to remove that fear. Matties: If it's going through your manufactur- ing process, what's their concern? Stevenson: With the RF, there are still a lot of manual setups. Every panel size is different. We may not have the same tooling, the hard tooling, like we did with our standard FR-4 panels. We've been optimizing how to make a jig so we can run it like normal. We really try to put in those fail-safes. Matties: So, the manual setup is what they're most concerned about because the process is the process once it's set up, right? Stevenson: Exactly. Matties: anks for sharing your thoughts with us today, we greatly appreciate your time. Stevenson: ank you. SMT007

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