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18 PCB007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2024 It sounds easy enough, doesn't it? Yet many problems encountered with the equipment end of the business are due to miscommuni- cation between the supplier and the customer. Usually, these come as assumptions made by both parties that are not addressed during the discussions leading up to the final design and purchase order. A simple example occurred a few years ago. A potential customer contacted us about etch- ing equipment to thin down copper sheets to a specified thickness with tight specifications. ey specialized in copper gaskets for high- compression racing engines, cutting them from a copper sheet with a water jet. eir problem was that the milled copper sheet came in stan- dard thicknesses. e mill was able to deliver custom thicknesses but at a greatly increased Aer working for a capital equipment sup- plier for almost 50 years, I've found that the most important part of getting to know your vendor is good communication among all par- ties. While contact between fabricators of a constantly changing product line and the designers of those products may occur daily or weekly, conversations between you and your equipment supplier may be years apart. at lengthy gap oen means that previous contacts may have been promoted, retired, or moved on to other opportunities. You may have also migrated to a new supplier with whom you have little or no history. In either case, you will be interacting with someone you are unfamil- iar with (as they are with you). erefore, it is essential for both sides to communicate clearly so expectations will align. Getting to Know Your Vendor The Chemical Connection Feature Column by Don Ball, CHEMCUT

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