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76 SMT Magazine • July 2017 by Stephen Las Marias I-CONNECT007 Audra Gavelis, director of marketing and in- vestor relations at IEC Electronics Corp., dis- cusses with SMT Magazine the current challeng- es in electronics assembly for the military and aerospace markets and the new requirements they are getting from their customers. She also talks about strategies in dealing with compo- nent obsolescence and lifecycle issues, new compliance issues that contract manufacturers are facing, and how they can ensure the quali- ty and reliability of their products and solutions for the military and aerospace markets, because field failure is not an option. Stephen Las Marias: What do you think are the biggest challenges when it comes to elec- tronics assembly for the military and aerospace markets? Audra Gavelis: It is dependent on where the product is in its lifecycle. For new products, companies are constantly innovating with new technology and engineering highly complex designs to meet the needs of their customers, especially in communications. We are constant- Field Failure is Not an Option ly expanding our technical capabilities, apply- ing our expertise, and helping them solve tech- nical challenges when defining the manufactur- ing process. On the opposite side of the spectrum, many products have long lifecycles and therefore the challenge is providing them a robust sup- ply chain in terms of sourcing components that may no longer be available. The electronics in- dustry is evolving at a rate faster than our cus- tomer's designs, therefore it critical to strate- gically source and work with our distribution partners to minimize lead times while ensur- ing maximum flexibility to work with their de- mands. Las Marias: What new demands are you get- ting from your customers? Gavelis: Continuing to minimize their sup- ply risk while also maximizing manufactur- ing flexibility are probably the two largest de- mands. Two specific areas of focus have been in tin and counterfeit component risk mitigation in terms of product quality. In addition, partic- ularly within the military and defense sector, program funding and forecasts are often vola- tile and unpredictable. Our customers are look- FEATURE INTERVIEW

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