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38 PCB007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2022 e cost of quality has us rethinking our pro- cesses in our everyday life, particularly as state- of-the-art technology presents challenges in our manufacturing theatres. In the 1980s and '90s, it wasn't as much of a challenge, as PCBs were stable, and the technology curve was rather flat. Surface mount technology had made its appearance and multilayer technol- ogy was basically 18 layers or less. During this time, equipment manufacturers were in the driver's seat. Netlist testing came online, and these new fixture testers took con- fidence to a new level above the routine "self- learn." However, these machines were expen- sive. It was not uncommon during this era to Decision Time: Invest or Delegate? spend $750,000 to over $1 million on a fix- ture tester that could perform netlist testing. Flying probes were just starting to hit the market but confidence in this new technol- ogy was not high and many OEMs were not ready to trust these new testers. So, fixture tes- ters flooded the market and were successful during this age. Technology evolved and advanced very rap- idly. Designs and component packages became smaller. New build technology emerged such as microvias, blind and buried designs, sequential lamination, and other processes that allowed for the amazing products we consider routine today. is has challenged PCB manufacturers that had invested in equipment to satisfy their ET needs but now are struggling to test these new designs with the expensive equipment purchased years ago. A s the y str uggle to k e e p d e l i v e r y t i m e s competitive, manufacturers are faced with a decision: Do I invest, or should I dele- gate? To stay compet- itive, a large percent- age of capital must be slated for PCB man- ufac tur ing equip - ment. is is under- standable as that is w h e r e t h e r e v e - nue is generated. Testing Todd by Todd Kolmodin, GARDIEN SERVICES USA

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