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20 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2018 wish it was 100% of the time we or somebody else could get involved. I would say 25–30% of the time we just get what we get, and we try to make it work." There is a difference depending on if it is a commercial or military/medical application. "On the commercial side, it is more transac - tional. You may never meet the designer unless they have a problem and they may already be on Rev B or C. Unfortunately, the manufacturer is now coming in after the fact and trying to make changes, which is more difficult and waste- ful," says Nargi-Toth. "But for sure, in some of the new programs in mil/aero, or in medi- cal, we find often that the OEM already knows the y need assistance, and they want to reach across the table and engage early. They have a history of positive experiences with collabora - tive efforts that have produced successful proj- ects that were on-time and met the commercial tar gets and they want to build on this positive experience." Conclusion When it comes to making decisions on investing in new equipment for the factory, manufacturers should have some sort of an evaluation procedure, according to Nargi-Toth. "I think most companies do have a proce- dure when they evaluate new materials and new equipment. Obviously, they need to know what the end goal is for the equipment," says Nargi-Toth. "If it's a bottleneck fix, the leader- ship should come from operations and engi- neering. The decision is based on what is needed to improve productivity for one process or another. If it is technical development, advancing the process based on a current need that has already been identified then engineer- ing and product development are tasked with developing the evaluation criteria. And if it is something that is needed for a next generation product following a roadmap such as what Matt talked about, the company needs to do some research to better understand what's out there today and what is being worked on and may be available in 12-24 months." First, manufacturers must define what type of equipment they need and what they are trying to accomplish. Once that's done, it's time for a project plan to evaluate what's available. "Even if we're talking about some of the simplest equipment in fabrication, we're talk- ing $250,000. If I want to go out and buy a new automatic plater, we're talking about $5 million. It's a lot of money to invest, and you're not going to do it by just by running a few samples," says Nargi-Toth. "It all needs to begin with a project plan and a solid under- standing of what the goals are for the new equipment. Once that has been established you can determine how you're going to eval- uate the available technologies to make sure that you're making the correct decision and purchasing the right piece of equipment for your particular needs." Turpin agrees. "Everything that Kathy said would apply to not just the EMS business, but, I would say, to any problem that anybody is trying to solve. Don't buy a piece of capital equipment unless you know what problem you're trying to solve, whether it's a technol- ogy problem, whether it's a process problem. Maybe it is an efficiency problem. Know what you're trying to solve, and then, whether it's your evaluation requirements with the capex supplier, share those goals with them and how you're going to evaluate it," says Turpin. "Certainly, for a project plan, make sure that you're checking for that, and in your turn-up of the process, that the problems you're trying to solve are the processes you're developing, and documenting, and rolling out during the I think most companies do have a procedure when they evaluate new materials and new equipment. Obviously, they need to know what the end goal is for the equipment.

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