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38 PCB007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2023 Interview by Nolan Johnson Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories understands the value of a strong onboarding program. Frank Har- rill and Jessi Hall explain the reasons behind the com- pany's intent to internalize new staff as quickly as possible. When it comes to onboarding, time is of the essence. You're investing in equipment and facilities. That means you need to be investing in staff, operators, and engineers. How extensive or formalized have you made the onboarding and skill-building processes at Schweitzer for the manufacturing floor staff? Frank Harrill: We're a 100% employee- owned company driven by innova- tion and digital technology. Lifelong learning and training is an essential component of SEL and always has been. We use a blend of informal and formal training, formal educational opportunities and benefits, and a culture of learning. It's incredibly important. We empower our manufacturing floor staff to make constant improvements and innovate in the spirit of world class manufacturing, which requires education throughout the arc of their employment at SEL. Is there a formalized training department? Jessi Hall: Yes, we do have one. We have training throughout the com- pany with a corporate-wide learning and development team; they focus on onboarding topics and helping our staff understand our culture. Additionally, we have some train- ing in manufacturing that's developed by our training team, but we also rely on our supervisors and lead- ers to act as mentors, to teach new people. Most folks who come into the manufacturing environment have never been in one before, so we focus on creating good processes. We have found that's the best way to ensure quality: have robust processes in place and give people the opportunity to learn and grow. One of my favorite programs is our apprentice- ship program. This allows our assemblers to have a six-month internship where they learn about a new skill. They might be working in our process engineer- ing team and learning about soldering, or they might be learning to be a machinist, or maybe they're learn- ing about becoming an accountant. This is a formal program that is consistently in process and is a great benefit not just for our employees, but for our com- pany overall—most employees that participate in an apprenticeship are hired into the groups that they apprentice with. You're committed to investing in the people just as much as the equipment. Hall: That's the most important part, the people. e glass transition temperatures range from 125°C to 170°C (and somewhat higher for select resin materials). ese temperature ranges may not be sufficient for most high tem- perature and harsh environment applications. Epoxy-based materials with Tg greater than 170°C, and polyimide resins with higher Tg (over 200°C), are indicated for long-term ther- mal resistance, especially in harsh use environ- ments. ese materials are effective for PTH life and high-performance multilayer PCBs with high layer counts. ere are significant consequences for high layer count multilay- ers. is and the move to microvias will be dis- cussed in next month's column. PCB007 References 1. "Different Curing System Can Improve Laminate Performance," by Christos Chrisafides, The Board Authority-Live, June 2004. 2. "How to Get Started in HDI With Microvias," by Happy Holden, CircuiTree, November 2003. 3. "Advantages of BGA for Backplane Connec- tors", by Jim Nadolny, DesignCon 2002, TecForum HP-TF4, pp.5. Michael Carano brings over 40 years of electronics industry expe- rience with special expertise in manufacturing, performance chem- icals, metals, semiconductors, medical devices, and advanced packaging. To read past columns, click here. Schweitzer: Essential Onboarding, and Quickly

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