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28 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2023 they're required to have, as well as the care we've taken in the choice of components and technologies. Many of these systems are in ser- vice in places where updates and upgrades can be difficult and costly for the customer. We design our products to work for many years in austere, hard-to-reach locations, and that must be factored into every aspect of product design and the security controls in place. CAM in a Captive Facility Most sites in PCB fabrication or assembly are job shops, right? Whether they're optimized for high-volume production for a few products, or they're low-volume, high- mix and really optimized for getting through a lot of small jobs quickly, they have a lot of customers to manage. You don't. What's the challenge there? Likewise, if there's an ebb and flow in product demand within your own internal supply chain, how do you keep things running smoothly and consistently through fabrication and assembly? Hendrickson: I'll touch on the ebb and flow question first. at's one thing that SEL does extremely well in all our manufacturing facil- ities today—we staff to a certain level. We have what we expect for our product output throughout the year, and we staff to that. If that ebbs or flows, we have a lot of training oppor- tunities and things of that nature. We focus on cross training, specifically. We've talked about our assembly and R&D folks. Our goal is to cross-train with those teams, to have them work in our factory and vice versa. In the times of those ebbs and flows, we can do training. Or we can pull from those resources that we've trained because they now have a good under- standing of what we do. When we need help, we can go to them, and then we can go help them when they have challenges as well. It's our philosophy to respond or plan, rather than just react. We'll be doing quick turns along with production, but because of that tight rela- tionship with R&D, we'll know at least two to four weeks out, maybe longer, that those things are coming, so we can plan for it. We can have that longer visibility other PCB facili- ties don't. ey get an order that shows up and they're expected to build it; we can plan and manage that so we'll have material here and we'll be able to execute. Having that one cus- tomer also allows us to integrate a lot of our engineering data through CAM. Our goal is to CAM a design within an hour and have it out to the production floor. at's something that you can't do when you're trying to service 100 different customers that give you infor- mation in 100 different ways, and all those customers have varying levels of understanding of how to design. ose are some of the tight-knit relationships that will help us succeed there. Let's talk about that a bit more. Getting a job through CAM in an hour? That sounds like you need a close working relationship between the design team and manufacturing. Everyone must know exactly what the design rules are. Hendrickson: Yes, and again, our CAM team is involved in the design. ey're able to review it and give feedback well

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