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Lessons Learned

No matter what the technology, some common suggestions emerged from company and vendor experience for successfully implementing an alternative MHC technology:

  • Many facilities and vendors stressed the importance of high-quality equipment for conveyorized (horizontal) systems.

  • Since there can be major differences between direct metallization and electroless copper processes, line operators need to be willing to accept changes and retraining.

  • Some vendors and manufacturers emphasized that facilities should take a "whole- process" view of the MHC technology installation. Process changes upstream and/or downstream may be necessary to optimize the alternative MHC process.

  • Perhaps the most important factor in successfully implementing an alternative technology is a strong commitment from management and line operators to the new technology.

As shown in the CTSA and in these facilities'experiences, alternative technologies are successfully "making holes conductive." According to the manufacturers interviewed for this report, alternative technologies offer benefits, but facilities may first have to overcome the problems encountered during installation.² After installing these systems, the most successful facilities improved their production efficiency and their worker safety, while decreasing environmental impacts. Hopefully, the experiences of these manufacturers will help others considering a switch to an alternative MHC technology.

²For description of the experiences of PWB manufacturers in northern California with direct metallization, see the report, Direct Metallization Report, completed by the City of San Jose's Environmental Services Department. For a copy, contact John Mikhar at 408-945-3036.

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