Customer is King at APEX/IPC Printed Circuits Expo


In the electronics industry, the road to success is no longer paved only with state-of-the-art equipment, technologies, or materials. As vertically integrated companies have scaled back, end-users are expecting system-based services from their vendors. Providing “total solutions” seems to be the latest business strategy discussed during this year’s IPC Printed Circuits Expo/APEX/Designers Summit in Los Angeles, February 19-22.

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As Neil MacRaild, general manager for the Americas, DEK, puts it, there’s more demand in the industry for customer service. “We’re inviting our customers to expect more of us - more of our people and customer support,” he said.

Doug Dixon, global marketing manager for Henkel Corp., says they are being asked to develop entire processes. Their research and applications lab in Irvine, CA, allows the company to do just this. “We’re predicting performance (of material sets) before the customer knows what their performance requirements are,” notes Dixon.

“Shaping products into ideas” is the mantra of Unovis Solutions. Roland Heitmann, general manager, Unovis, explained how the company uses its core competencies in materials, process development, and automation to take customers from a concept to a complete product. One illustration of this is the announcement of their partnership with Endicott Interconnect in the development and manufacturing of intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) catheters.

Also catching on to the service-oriented approach is Zestron, a high-precision cleaning company, which will be introducing their chemistry and service technical center at their integration party, May 11, in Manassas, VA. State-of-the-art equipment will allow customers to qualify their cleaning process on-site. The goal is to test all available processes and chemistries in one place.