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Beaulieu: In your global market, where’s your strongest insulations right now?
Scutchfield: I think automotive is a big part of our business, followed by industrial. EMS would fall into that industrial category to a large degree, but we work with both large and small companies. In the Americas last year, we had 67 new customers, which included a lot of small companies with only a few production lines.
Beaulieu: So, you’re dealing with $10-million to multi-billion-dollar companies.
Scutchfield: That’s exactly right. We’re covering the gamut. The tools are designed so that both size companies can take advantage of what we’re doing. At IPC APEX EXPO 2019, we’re showing our next revision of auto-programming, which will significantly reduce the time it takes to program. Again, this is driven by the AI engine we’re utilizing. We’re also showing the pin inspection system I mentioned earlier, which is very much a part of that automotive world for things like terminal pin and fork gap measurement. Perpendicularity, spacing, and critical distance measurement are all pieces of that specific tool, which is very well accepted in the market already. We see that as a huge growth area. We’re showing our award-winning SPI auto-repair feature, which allows us to dispense paste after we identify an insufficient solder scenario. With this feature, the user doesn’t have to clean and reprint a board.
Beaulieu: You seem passionate about this. How did you get into the industry, and what’s your background?
Scutchfield: I’ve been in this business since 1986. My first job out of college was with the Defense Systems Group at Texas Instruments in Dallas. I was there for several years before moving into a division of United Technologies Corporation focused on high-volume board assembly for Carrier HVAC. Then, I moved to the supply side in the mid-1990s where I’ve had stints with Panasonic and Omron before finally leading the Koh Young America sales team.
Beaulieu: Those are classic companies. Where did you attend school?
Scutchfield: I went to Purdue University and earned an engineering degree. During my time in manufacturing, I was focused on the PCB assembly process.
Beaulieu: IT sales and marketing is my background. So, how do you sell this product?
Scutchfield: It really depends on the customer’s needs and their aptitude to understand exactly what we’re doing and how it is much different than the rest of the market. When somebody comes up and asks me about how Koh Young is different when the other companies are claiming to do the same thing as Koh Young, and I simply explain it is just not true.
Previously, I mentioned true 3D. We never had a 2D AOI system when we started to develop an AOI tool. We started with 3D from the start. We took that same 3D moiré technology from our market-leading SPI and applied that to our AOI tool. A lot more data needs to be collected, but at the end of the day. We started with a 3D technology base with true 3D parametric data while others are still using 2D elements for things like part and lead tip find. These are critical measurements and the heaviest contributors to false calls, so measuring it correctly with our 3D technology is a huge differentiator.
We take that off the table immediately when anybody asks us about false calls or differences. Once they understand what’s going on in the background and the fact that we’re not using 2D technology, they start to understand very quickly why Koh Young is the market leader. They see why we have fewer false calls, because we do things differently. We have fewer escapes, a more robust base, and can feed data to an AI engine that interprets parametric information. We’re unique in every one of those aspects compared to our competitors.
Beaulieu: What’s your ideal customer profile?
Scutchfield: I think it’s really a customer that understands the value of the true 3D measurement principle and what it will do for them. Remember, many other companies came from the 2D world, so they’re bolting on a 3D element to create a 2.5D system. The customer who understands what we do and how we will fulfill their needs . We also want customers who value the smart factory initiative, because that is driving our industry, and in part, our developments.
We have so much to bring that it is a true differentiator. We want a customer to understand those key points about true 3D, how it fuels the AI engine, and the output as tools to fulfill the smart factory initiative. That’s our ideal customer profile.
Beaulieu: So, you sell an outstanding product.
Beaulieu: Let me ask a question that has troubled me. Supposedly if a self-driving car gets in an accident in Tokyo, all that information of that accident is fed back into the AI of every self-driving car in the world. Did you know that?
Scutchfield: The power of AI is definitely growing.
Beaulieu: I wonder how generous the information sharing is with competing companies. Taking that to the ultimate end of AI in your business, how will you manage the line between having a competitive advantage and sharing data with everybody?
Scutchfield: That’s a great question. I was on a panel earlier this week where that question came up. There will be a point where we’re going to have to be much more careful and diligent about how we achieve this goal of a self-healing system. Our situation is a little bit unique because our AI engine is proprietary. You can buy an AI engine and apply it to your application, but we developed our own engine with our domain knowledge; it’s specific to what we do. There will be a time when the information sharing decisions will be made, and it will extend to every equipment and software provider.
We’re getting the ball rolling now with the CFX initiative, which is requesting everyone output certain types of information. For the most part, everyone is on board, and it has been put into play. What comes next will be interesting because it’s not just passing information here. This is a great start, but at some point, it must be a closed loop system. There must be intelligence built into this that allows us to make changes in a different sandbox.
Beaulieu: Do you have any last comments before we finish?
Scutchfield: We’ve had a momentous week. We’re always happy to be at IPC APEX EXPO and show our new tools. We’ve received a lot of great feedback from customers on the new tools like our Zenith 2 with side cameras. All the new advances in the KPO smart factory world has been well received with a lot of excitement. We’re looking forward to making further improvements. We have a lot going on. We’re very heavily focused on R&D—more than half of the company is involved in these initiatives. We will continue to see new things as we go forward, and by the time we get to Chicago next fall for the SMTAI show, we can share more.
Beaulieu: We will look for you there.
Beaulieu: Thanks for being with me today, Dan. I appreciate it.
Scutchfield: Thank you very much, Dan.