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October 2016 • SMT Magazine 89 CHOOSING AN EMS PARTNER in mind, this is an assurance of supply issue; no credit means no raw materials, and no raw ma- terials means no product for you! 9. Examine their employee relations. Pick a non-union facility that focuses on employee growth and benefits, creating long tenures. Lit- tle perks matter, like sports tickets. Some will hire and terminate based on demands. In those cases, training will be suspect. Consistency from any company means keeping employees for the long haul, and having good training programs. You are looking for a long-term relationship, and the quickest way to know if the EMS com- pany looks for the same is to understand their employees' tenure. When you tour the facility, ask to see the breakroom and other employee areas, ask the employees what they like about working there and how long they have been with the company. Then ask yourself, "Would I want to work here?" 10. Look for a good industry and customer mix. Make sure there isn't a hyper focus on one industry or customer, which could cause issues if that industry hits hard times. For example, automotive or, more recently, oil and gas. There is a saying in football, "you can live by the blitz or die by the blitz." The problem with compa- nies that are heavily weighted in an industry or customer is twofold. First, the EMS company's priority will be with that customer or industry, causing you to be second fiddle at some point. Second, and most importantly, business cycles, buyouts and relationships change, a heavy con- centration combined with a big negative swing in these areas will put the EMS company at risk. As you move forward with your selection process, remember that there are so many EMS companies to choose from. None of them will be perfect, but one or two of them will be the right fit for your organization. The selection process starts with understanding your internal requirements and expectations, then finding an EMS company that aligns to your requirements and values. SMT W. Scott Fillebrown is the CTO of Libra Industries. Researchers at Georgia Tech Re- search Institute (GTRI) are adapting optical techniques from the photon- ics telecom arena to enhance U.S. electronic warfare (EW) capabilities. Optical approaches provide great- ly increased frequency coverage and long distance low-loss transfer of analog signals when compared to traditional RF systems, result- ing in substantial performance improvements. Chip- scale integrated photonics also allows for the poten- tial of extensive reductions in size, weight and pow- er (SWaP) needs. Chris W ard, a senior research engineer who leads GTRI's EW photonics development program, ex- plained that today, sophisticated commercial off-the- shelf photonic components, capable of cutting-edge data/signal transport, are widely avail- able. GTRI researchers are using these devices in the development of novel EW ar chitectures that have strong per- formance advantages. They have pro- duced optical transceivers that can in- terface readily with existing digital or RF EW equipment. The team is currently focused on packaging novel photonic integrated circuits (PICs) for integration into existing EW systems. "There are several challenges in adapting pho- tonics technology for highly specialized EW needs," Ward said. "But the benefits in terms of the ability to effectively counter future threats, along with sub- stantial cost reduction and greatly improved SWaP factors, make optical approaches highly promising for these applications." Applying Photonics to Electronic Warfare Challenges

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