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34 SMT Magazine • September 2014 Beginning in 2011, it became apparent to our team at Zentech Manufacturing that the advanced technology requirements of the mil/ aero sector in our primary market, the Penta- gon Region of the Mid-Atlantic that includes Washington, D.C. and the high-technology cor- ridors of Northern Virginia and Baltimore, were beginning to challenge our capabilities. Driven by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiatives, coupled with extreme pres- sures to reduce size, weight and power (SWaP) on military programs, our core customer base of military prime contractors began to deliver designs that utilized advanced packaging sizes that were coupled with extreme layer counts and circuit densities. The decision was made by our team to make significant capital investments in our SMT equipment set to both support our customers and to differentiate ourselves from other CMs in a highly competitive market space. When most people think of advanced SMT process- ing equipment, their focus is normally on the throughput advantages and attendant labor savings attained from a highly automated pro- cess. From our perspective and analysis, we saw an opportunity to dramatically improve prod- uct quality through advanced automation of the SMT process and those processes closely linked to it. Advanced automation has improved qual- ity and reliability by reducing variability in the SMT process. Machine improvements in each of the fundamental SMT processes; solder paste application; and component placement and Automation's Influence on Assembly Quality feATure by Waleid Jabai ZenTeCh MAnufACTurInG

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