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82 PCB007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2022 Feature Interview by Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson I-CONNECT007 Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson talk with Alex Stepinski about strategies to lower costs in brownfield facilities. Alex has extensive experience designing and optimizing manu- facturing processes and is currently helping companies implement straightforward step- by-step solutions to move into smarter manu- facturing across different industries. Barry Matties: Alex, brownfield factories are stuck with space limitations and automation is a challenge. What could be a different way of thinking about a brownfield site and why it makes sense? Alex Stepinski: First, I want to address a funda- mental bias. Many people associate me with the greenfield sites that I've architected over the past years, and which became an Industry 4.0 example in the United States. It's not because that was the only way to do it, but because that was the business case. e business plan at the time was to build new facilities for OEMs that didn't have any PCB fab capabilities. Brownfields do not follow the same plan to implement Industry 4.0. e investments to do so can be done over a longer period based on available monies and can be done to address the biggest opportunities first. I think there's a little bit of a roadmap that any brownfield can follow. e first step is serializing your products, and there are many options to do this. e best ones, in my experience, are laser based, using lasers from some of the sensor suppliers in the market, and many of the suppliers can inte- grate this for you into a piece of equipment so you don't have to increase your footprint. It's probably one of the only things that you might need to add. It doesn't increase your footprint. Once you serialize your products individu- ally, then everything turns into a sensor-and- soware problem, and this doesn't add to the footprint in most cases. Industry 4.0 is about correlating data and making decisions based on interpolations of data, doing regressions, and things like this. It's not advanced artifi- cial intelligence. Advanced AI in business is Alex Stepinski: Taking Control of Input Costs

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