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APRIL 2023 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 57 sure that longer rework cycles do not cause the activity level of the fluxes to expire. In some cases, specialty chemicals are required for removal of the underfill materials. Experience in their usage and disposal is important. Finally, the right saponifiers for cleaning underneath and in between the various layers is important for removal of the flux residues. In some cases, the bottom component is temporarily glued to the PCB so as to not have the component shift during reflow cycles. This requires experience with different electronic grade glues. PoP rework requires the right rework experience in terms of process engineering, the right equipment set to develop a repeatable process with the widest possible operating window, and knowledge of a broad set of materials. Note: This is my last column on PCB rework and repair. I am fortunate to be moving on to Life 3.0—helping others—and no longer be developing PCB rework/repair processes and products or writing about the same. Thank you to all the readers who have been alongside me in this journey. SMT007 Bob Wettermann is retiring as the principal of BEST Inc., a contract rework and repair facility in Chicago. For more information, contact To read past columns, click here. Barry Matties: What do you believe is the best advice you have received over the many years you have been in this industry? Michael Ford: It didn't seem like good advice at the time, but it was, "Never fall in love with your product." I say "product" loosely, because it can be anything that you have achieved or accomplished. The natural result is that you tend to think that what you have done is brilliant, which may hold up when you measure it against the initial set of conditions that you had, but the needs of tomorrow are always changing, with each small change potentially needing the solution to become completely different. Every achievement we make drives the opportunity for the next. I have found it better to never lament on things gone by, but to always look at things as stepping stones to the next. You have to be open-minded, let go, and reinvent the way you think about things. This involves encouraging input and advice from others, encouraging them to be involved, and to gain a greater context in the ways that things need to be done. Always remain flexible and keep moving forward. Matties: Did you get that advice early in your career? Ford: Relatively so. It was related to the company I was working for, where we self-developed a corporate MES (manufacturing execution software) solution. MES was novel at the end of the 1980s; I think we were one of the first to ever develop such a tool, and it went on to become a semi-commercial product. There comes the time, however, where you can only do so much with a small group of developers within a manufacturing organization who are absolutely brilliant in what they have achieved but were not supported on a proper commercial or professional basis. Without the resources to do that, you learn that all that you've achieved with your team over many years will ultimately be replaced. You must put that in a positive light, but it's tough. It makes you stronger, and more appreciative of those around you. There are many who just don't get the support for making that kind of change. As long as the change happens at the right time, and you take it in the right way, you realize that it is a growing moment, and you move on to the next challenge. Michael Ford: My Best Career Advice

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