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32 SMT Magazine • September 2015 Matties: what kind of capabilities are you add- ing? Direct imaging and that sort of thing, or other processes? Patel: The capabilities mainly are twofold: The first is to enhance more into thermal manage- ment. The second is RF material, mainly for avionic needs. Those things are important for us. Matties: in our last conversation, you were men- tioning that Electronic interconnect has become certified for the automotive industry as well, re- cently. Patel: Yes. To expand your capabilities, you also need a certification to go along with that. That certification assurance allows the custom- ers to know that we have the ability to further expand our capabilities going forward. That's the reason we are looking at certification right now, mainly the AS9100 and TS16949 certifi- cations. Matties: with regard to the automotive indus- try, what sort of market opportunities did you see that compelled you to move into that arena? Patel: We have our manufacturing reps all over the U.S., and one of the things we hear in our regular conference calls and meetings, and of course the data indicates this as well, is a need for high-mix, low-volume types of business. Once we have AS and TS certifications done, it will allow us to further pursue the produc- tion side of it. And it's not exactly just for the purpose of testing, either; it's more for a mid- production purpose for the domestic market. That's where we want to fit in. A lot of production overseas has the AS and TS certifications, and if we have to put some of those parts into our short runs over here, we should be capable of handling it over here as well. Matties: what sort of demands do you see the automotive industry putting on you that may be different? is there more inspection or are there other requirements that you have to ad- here to? Patel: It's more flexibility of inspection. That's what it really boils down to. What we really need and what we're expanding into is more in- spection units and more AOI units. These main- ly take up more space and need more training. We think our best bet is to move into a different building and expand the capabilities where we can accommodate this equipment, because you need space for automation. Matties: with automotive, the cost of failure is so high they're willing to pay for a lot of extra inspection. Patel: Exactly. Not only for automotive, but the same thing goes for the avionics sector. Anywhere quality is absolutely crucial they are willing to pay, but they want to make sure that all the documentation is available for their re- cords when it's necessary. That also allows us to follow that data because a lot of times, when in a hurry, people will say, "Okay, get it done fast." What happens? People take shortcuts, go through quickly on inspections, and miss the details. At that point if we are AS and TS cer- tified it enforces the documentation and you have a clearer picture of what's going on for high-mix, low-volume. People do that also with comparison data. Automotive is looking for a circuit board fabricator like us that not only deals with speed but also can keep track of the traceability. That's where we come in and why we're going to be data sharing with the others. Matties: traceability is a big issue, not just for quality, but also for liability. For example, we see these ignition switches failing, and so on. they want to go back and now look at it on a com- ponent level to figure out where the blame lies. we're seeing more and more of that with the ac- countability issue going on. is that how you see it as well? Patel: Yes, absolutely. I think that when any- thing fatal happens or a catastrophe occurs, everyone is going to look at everything under the microscope. We want to assure that every question raised during an investigation can be answered through our traceability. That's the reason it's all about traceability at the moment. bIG strAteGIes FOr suCCess continues interview

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