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32 SMT007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2018 the market, and where the industry is headed. Stephen Las Marias: Have you seen an increase in automotive electronics assembly jobs over the past two to three years? What are the main drivers for this? Mathieu Kury: We have indeed. These assembly jobs are mostly focused on PCB assem- blies and sub-assemblies, including the full array of test- ing services and conformal coating, among other steps of the manufactur- ing process. This is a trend we expect to see again this year, along with higher volumes for customers/projects we started to support only recently and for which we have very strong and positive outlooks within the next few months. Las Marias: What are the greatest challenges when it comes to electronics assembly for automotive electronics? Kury: More than the assembly itself, I would say the main challenges reside in the level of quality processes, procedures, and contain- ment/contingency plans you need to have in place. This is something we're not new to, of course, and therefore have mastered over time. Traceability is another one. With the increas- ing level of electronics in cars on the market, a lot of EMS/CM players are attracted to pene- trate this industry. However, not all of them are able to provide the quality commitments and results needed to succeed on the long run. On another note, dealing with new technolo- gies can also be a challenge and the self-driv- ing vehicle sub-segment will change the way we assemble automotive products as the liabil- ity on the field will be even higher—but this is something we're ready to tackle. Las Marias: What new requirements or demands are being placed upon you by your automotive electronics customers? Kury: More than new demands or sub-applications, our cus- tomers require shorter and shorter lead times, which is something we can help with by engaging at the early stage of the project—most specifi- cally during the design stage. This will allow us to guide and support the customer in keeping the mass produc- tion context in mind, which is something overlooked too often. Las Marias: How are you help- ing customers address their challenges? Kury: We've integrated design for excellence (DFE) and design for manufacturability (DFM) principles into our processes. That helps us in providing our customers with design support services, with the right tools, at the right time. Qualifying alternate parts, identifying possi- ble roadblocks to volume production, among others, are services we provide more and more to our customers to make sure lead time is opti- mized, component selection is relevant and in line with customer's requirements, and allows mass production ramps up smoothly. Testing strategy is another area where we're investing additional resources, supporting our custom- ers in defining the right testing strategy accord- ing to their specific use case, and supporting the associated tooling development. Las Marias: What recent trends or develop- ments in automotive electronics are chang- ing the way electronics assemblies are being manufactured? Kury: Not sure if these latest developments are changing the way products are assembled, however we do see a lot more opportunities to bring our expertise inside a vehicle. From sensors to infotainment and an ever-increas- ing role of the screens and touchpads for inte- rior control, we are regularly consulted to support these types of assembly, in addition to Mathieu Kury

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