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12 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2018 Feature Article by Stephen Las Marias and Patty Goldman I-CONNECT007 For this month's issue of SMT007 Magazine, our focus is on equipment—not just on who's got the latest and the greatest, but on how people decide what to buy, when to buy it, and how those decisions are made. In preparation for this issue, we invited Kathy Nargi-Toth, president of Eltek USA, and Matt Turpin, president and CEO of Zentech Manufacturing to a discussion on the decision-making process for new equipment, and the key considerations for choosing the best machine solu- tion for a process. Headquartered in Israel, Eltek manufactures rigid- flex, multilayer flex, and HDI PCBs. The company works primarily with the military, defense, and aero- space segment, and medical electronics. Baltimore- based Zentech Manufacturing, meanwhile, is an EMS firm mainly focused on the mil/aero and medical elec- tronics markets. "There are probably three main ways that a PCB fabricator would evaluate new equipment purchases," says Nargi-Toth, who has been in the PCB industry for over 30 years. "The first would be to address a capacity issue, or a bottleneck. So, you're looking for more of the same, perhaps. The second would be to meet a technical challenge that your current equipment can't. The last one would be to do something that is new or revolutionary. That case would follow your roadmap and would be looking to purchase equipment that may not yet be available. In these cases, it is best to be working with your main equipment suppliers. Often, they are already looking at new techniques that can advance you along your roadmap. Most fabricators are doing some amount of each of these three types of purchases, depending on how the particular opera- tion is focused." According to Nargi-Toth, in Eltek's case one of the primary focuses is equipment that can handle thin mate- rials. "There seems to be an overriding decision-making process when we go about buying a new piece of equip ment. How d o e s i t h a n d l e flex material? How does it handle the sequential lamination, sub-composite layers or plated through-hole innerlayers? This mate-

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