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36 PCB007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2023 Tribal knowledge is important and quite common in the electronics manufacturing industry—for good reason. Many engineers, technicians, and operators have formed their careers around building PCBs. Some even worked alongside the founding fathers of elec- tronics. Newer, young minds stand on the shoulders of this knowledge base. As a pro- cess engineer, I work with operators who have been coating panels with solder mask lon- ger than I've been alive. Some know the exact coating parameters required for the toughest of designs. To watch them hand-screen panels is like learning the nuances of a family recipe handed down through generations. What happens when those operators retire? It's so risky to leave this vital knowledge only The Pros and Cons of Tribal Knowledge in their minds as they leave the industry. Will we be le with 30+ years of knowledge just briefly passed to a new employee who is hop- ing to avoid similar mistakes that might have been made in those 30 years? Can that infor- mation be quantified and written down for the next generation, so young engineers continue to push the envelope further? Losing this database of experience can be det- rimental if not properly passed on during the training process. It may not be intentional and may just be the result of unquantified informa- tion required for success. For example, while working recently with a team of engineers on processing guidelines for our front-end engi- neering (FEE) team, the team asked the lam- ination engineer about signs that could exist The New Chapter by Paige Fiet, TTM-LOGAN

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