BTL Healthcare Technologies. If there's no way, we'll find it

The public in the Czechia first became aware of BTL Healthcare Technologies at the turn of last year. This was when the owner of the BTL group, Jan Vild, together with the technical director, Tomáš Drbal, became the largest private donors of lung ventilators in our country. They donated three hundred devices worth a total of €1.2 million to hospitals. In addition, they sent one hundred thousand respirators to hospitals and another twenty-five thousand to homes for the elderly

Business lives on even in the covid, but it's better over coffee

Dennis Hausner lives in Baden-Württemberg, near the French and Swiss borders. Yet he is now in his second year working for a Czech company. Specifically, since January 2020, when the well-known German PCB manufacturer Kubatronik was bought by the Czech company Gatema. We took advantage of his visit to Boskovice to find out how the whole process of mutual cooperation takes place in the difficult times of coronavirus and raw material crisis; and how difficult it is to succeed in the PCB industry on the European market today.

IPC Class 2 or 3? The customer should be the only standard

Board quality control is a world in which an incredible number of abbreviations appear. There are standards and certifications such as IPC 1, IPC 2, IPC 3, ISO 9000, ISO 14001, CMI 700 and CMI 900 devices, CoC reports, RoHS, and UL certification. Nevertheless, a human is still the decisive variable in the whole process. Ordinary interpersonal communication that solves possible problems and shortcomings. And, at the same time, the error of the human factor, which is by far the most common cause of possible complications. Jaroslava Sedláčková from Gatema PCB, who has been dealing with the quality of the output of manufactured printed circuit boards for twelve years and is also in charge of communication with customers in the event of any complaints, also knows this well. “Every customer is different. Some are accommodating, others are negative. For some, it is enough that the board meets one of the standards, others insist on a number of details. For us, the only real standard is the customer, or rather his satisfaction”, she says at the beginning of the interview.

Despite the crisis, we keep production deadlines of five to ten days

We have already written about the situation with materials for the production of printed circuit boards on this blog. Today, we look at the whole story once again – through the spectacle of numbers, delivery times and economic prospects. “The situation on the market for materials and their supplies is currently incredibly bad. The “lead time” for basic materials such as prepregs or cores was, by default, fourteen days. From February this year, however, we are actually registering a constant change for the worse. At first the time shifted to four to five weeks, a month later it was six to seven weeks for prepregs and thirteen weeks for basic materials. In May, we were informed that they were forced to extend the delivery time for prepregs to eleven weeks and twenty to twenty-one weeks for basic material. Our standard established practice, when we order material and have it in stock within fourteen days, basically changed to five months. It is common now that the delivery terms are confirmed for November. But, having reacted in March with an increase in the stock minima, we are covering up lead time without major delays”, says Radim Vítek, production manager at Gatema PCB.

Silicon Photonics? A huge trend, which, however, will not beat the PCB price

There is nowhere to grow. Current science in the field of processor development has found itself at the very limit of possibilities. We can hardly produce even smaller or denser parts and components without encountering basic physical limits. That's why companies around the world are focusing a lot on “revolutionary” architectural change. In the field of photonics or “silicon photonics” it is optical data interconnection with integrated lasers. We, Czechs, with a few exceptions in the field of photonics, rather play second fiddle. One of the rare exceptions is the Argotech company located in Trutnov. We talked with Martin Žoldák, the head of its development department, about photonics and printed circuit boards.