Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: Burkle Has a Sharper Image

Kurt Palmer, president of Burkle North America, speaks with Editor Nolan Johnson about the latest advancements in imaging and the equipment that Burkle will be demonstrating at IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego.

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Nolan Johnson: Hi. Nolan Johnson for Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO, the preview edition. I am speaking today with Kurt Palmer, the president of Burkle North America. Kurt, welcome.

Kurt Palmer: Thanks, Nolan. Good to be here. Thanks for having me.

Johnson: Looking forward to seeing you face to face in San Diego. Burkle will have a booth there, yes?

Palmer: Yes, we will. Booth number 3721, for those who are interested.

Johnson: What can we expect to see there?

Palmer: Well, there will be a lot of us still attending the show this year, with people from Germany and several people from Burkle North America. At any one time, we’ll have eight or 10 people in the booth. We’ll be exhibiting two machines from Schmoll Maschinen this year, again. We’ll have one of our Module Series, double-head single-table machines with automation, and we’ll also have an MDI direct imaging machine with three photo heads as well. We've displayed both of these machines at this show before, but these will be the latest models with up-to-date technology and features in software that we’ve developed over the past year. So, we’re excited to have them at the show again since they always generate a great deal of interest, and should attract a lot of attention as they usually do.

Johnson: Walk us through some of the specs on these machines you have on the floor.

Palmer: A Module machine is basically a single-table drilling machine that’s designed for small-lot quantity work, and a panel size of 24 x 25 inches is, I think, the maximum size it can handle. This machine has CCD cameras, so you can do fiducial acquisition optimizing registration as you drill. It’s a very, very fast machine. The beauty of a modular machine like this is that you can set multiple Modules side by side in what we call a cube format, where you can have them butted up right next to one another, four or six machines in a line, and then you can feed the loaders from the back using an automated system. It’s the ultimate flexibility. That’s the Module drilling machine. The MDI machine, in this particular case, has three LLS 30 photo heads. It’s capable of doing lines and spaces, the resolution down to 25 microns, but we have photo heads that won’t be on display that can do down to seven, 10-micron lines and space.

The machine we are displaying is slated to go into production in the U.S. right after the show. It is capable of doing, of course, dry film and solder mask, operates on four wavelengths from the mid-300s up to above 400, and, depending on the number of photo heads you have, it could be a very quick production cycle as well. So we’ll have our product manager there from Schmoll demonstrating that machine. Stephan Kunz, managing director of Schmoll from Germany, will be with us this year. Usually Thomas Kunz, his brother, has been at the show, but this year it will be Stephan. It’ll be great to have him there. A lot of our customers in the U.S. know him and work with him closely. What I really like about Stephan is that he’s a fast decision-maker. Let me put it this way, we get a lot of deals done with Stephan. Customers like to meet with him because they know that he’s got the right answers and will help design the right machine for the customer.

Johnson: Yeah, it sounds to me like there are plenty of reasons to stop by the Burkle booth.

Palmer: Yes, and that’s just the people I’ve mentioned are just people coming from Germany. We’ve also got several of our people there. Dave Howard will be there again this year. Of course, Dick Crowe, a very longstanding figurehead in the industry, will be there. This will be his last IPC APEX EXPO and actually he’s retiring in February, so it’ll be sort of bittersweet, but he’ll get to say his goodbyes to a lot of old friends and to us while we’re there at the booth. And then beyond that, we’ve got our tech service people that’ll be there, and some more of our technical experts will be at the booth. I think in total we’ll have eight Burkle North America people there.

Johnson: I’m certainly looking forward to seeing you guys there.

Palmer: We’re excited as well. I did get a chance to go to productronica this past year, what was that, two months ago? It was a little bit lightly attended. If you remember, the variant was really starting to pick up in Germany before it came over here, and got a few people concerned, but the quality of the visitors we had at the show was great. I’m expecting that to be the same here at the IPC show. Obviously, a lot more Americans and Canadians will be here than you see over in Germany, but either way, we’re looking forward to a really, really good show.

Johnson: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us.

Palmer: Thank you, Nolan, appreciate it.



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