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8 SMT Magazine • August 2014 right here in the U.S. by an OEM that is making the necessary investments. Think about it: Increasingly better CAD and CAM software makes going from design to di- rect imaging more of a reality. If you fully inves- tigated a one-off panel production flow, just in time, along with a system like Mutracx which guarantees panel quality, you could flow from design through etch without a pause. I imag- ine a PCB factory looking more like a PCB as- sembly line, with long columns of equipment moving product through the factory. I believe everything is available to take a board from one end to the other in a smooth flow, without too many stops. And if we just invested a bit more in those areas where product stops, we could build a PCB from end to end, quickly and ef- ficiently. So, if you were starting a PCB facility from scratch, how would you build it? I know that the PCB Dream I had a recent discussion with a board fab- ricator about the expansion of his business. The company was looking into the possibility of buying an existing facility and asked that I keep them informed if I came across any com- panies that were interested in selling. My first thought was that these guys know how to run a business; they'll do well with a good, strategic acquisition. Then, after thinking about it a bit, I changed my mind. Why buy someone else's obsolete factory with all of its environmental baggage? You might buy a business for a strong customer base or if you were looking for a new capability, but it would have to be really com- pelling. Instead, build something new. What if you could put together a new, state- of-the-art, highly automated factory without waste treatment (no air or water)? I have the opportunity to visit such a factory being built by Ray Rasmussen publiSHer, i-ConneCT007 thE Way I sEE It FEaTuRE ColuMN Bits and Pieces

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