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April 2016 • SMT Magazine 11 Stephen las Marias is managing editor of SMT Magazine. He has been a technology editor for more than 12 years covering electronics, components, and industrial automation systems. tems strategy approach wherein instead of buy- ing off-the-shelf IT systems and dealing with support gaps if the systems don't provide all the tools needed to manage their business, they created a highly customized solution to address any support gaps. Chris Eldred writes about the benefits of this approach and how it was able to improve their information analysis and colla- tion, and ultimately their production processes. As always, SMT Magazine is not complete without our expert columnists to provide their insights on electronics assembly technology issues and challenges. In his column, Mitch Holtzer of Alpha Assembly Solutions explains why solder paste printing process capability is critical to EMS profitability. Bob Wettermann of BEST Inc., meanwhile, justifies the need for outsourcing certain PCB rework projects. However, he also points out about the need for careful review of the suppli- ers' knowledge of standards and adherence to processes prior to making the outsourcing call. After covering stencil printers, pick and place machines, reflow ovens and multiple types of through-hole soldering, Robert Voigt of DDM Novastar is starting a new series for his column on the topic of selective soldering machines. Finally, I am happy to announce our new ex- pert columnist, Tom Borkes, the founder of The Jefferson Project and the forthcoming Jef- ferson Institute of Technology, who will be writing regularly under his column, Jumping off the Bandwagon. In his inaugural piece, Borkes discusses the importance of being earnest or educated when it comes to high- tech electronics manufac - turing. (By the way, we are always looking for contributors and columnists for SMT Magazine. Please feel free to send us a note if you are inter- ested.) I hope you enjoy this issue of SMT Magazine. Next month, we will discuss the need for auto- mation and other strategies to reduce handling errors. Stay tuned! SMT Source: I-Connect007 In our recent survey on process engineering, one of the questions asked was whether companies are con- sidering further automating the control of their pro- cesses. Majority of the respondents, or 58.6%, said they are willing to implement automation in certain processes in their line for reasons such as quality monitoring and preventive maintenance, and also because automation takes the human variable out of the equation. However, the lack of management buy-in and pro- duction volume are among main reasons other re- spondents are not willing to implement automation in their process lines. Are You Considering Further Automating the Control of Your Processes? TakinG ThE GrEmlins ouT of Your ProcEss

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