We develop our own applications for production support

Willingness, high-quality and first-class speed. These are the three basic ingredients from which the Boskovice company Gatema prepares its “business cocktail”. In case you have not heard of them yet it is not advisable to underestimate its abilities as lately it has become one of the top European producers of prototype printed circuit boards and has recently caught up our attention as a purely Czech company being able to realize the acquisition of a well known German high-tech producer PCB Kubatronik.

One of the big advantages of Gatema is an interesting fact that its mother corporate holding also owns an IT company that has been dealing with development and implementation of information and production management software systems for a long time. Show the company is becoming its own client in a moment when it needs to be optimise its production or tune in its internal processes. But I also a team of technical preparation of production comes up with some enhancements and upgrades from time to time. For instance this was how or on software improvement has come into existence. This software helps suggest a correct composition of each of the boards.

„We have purchased an advanced software that helps us suggest optimal composition for PCB with impedances control. The outcome then is an accurate composition of PCB from materials that are available from our warehouse so that the PCB was manufacturable and passed our strict inspection of impedance conductors. In the process of the production then there is a verification of the accuracy of etching the conductors thanks to a special tool Zmetrix ST600. As this measurement cannot be performed on the PCB alone, we generate control coupons for each PCB which then contain impedance conductors with identical parameters to the ones that are on the board. It is then possible to perform the measuring on those thanks to a special probe. The previously mentioned coupon it is produced with the final board on one production panel in its maximum proximity as possible so that or production process affected both of the PCB in the same way. Such a coupon is possible to create manually in the case there are only one, two or three impedance conductors in place. However, in the amount of around 15 to 20 impedance conductors we are getting into a situation when creating a coupon would take disproportionally long and moreover the coupon would take up too much space on the production panel. Hence we have developed our own smart solution that is capable of combining the largest number of impedance conductors in the smallest space possible. Not only we save overhead costs for material but also eliminate human error rate while designing the coupon” as explained by Stepan Prichystal who works in the technical preparation of production department.

Zmetrix ST600

Rigid-flex? About even larger communication

The technical preparation department alone constantly strives and does its best to be able to address the customer’s needs and demands. „We are really trying our best for our first reaction in response to be within an hour or two of the initial contact. At the same time we also have the on-line configurator that is able to place a large part of our orders practically directly into the production only with our supervision. Obviously, this cannot be generalized. There are boards that will do with just a couple of emails and some drafts due to which our customers prefer to come personally. And then we discuss what tools we would pick and what materials to use to reach the most optimal and economically viable result” Stepan Prichystal adds.

This is also the case of the technical preparation in more and more frequently demanded flexible PCB that Gatema added into its portfolio several months ago. “The production of more advanced and sophisticated boards obviously requires much more time spent over debates and talks with our customers. We have to, in a good sense, double check pretty much everything as the composition and the form or the shape of flexible PCB literally has no limits. Therefore it is necessary to speak with the customer, adapt and tune in the technical proposals so that in the final phase everything works just as the customer expects.” as Stepan Prichystal closes.

The events of the last months have also speeded up and increased the use of communication tools that enable people from the technical preparation department communicate with customers in remote countries as well. Apart from standard tools such as a phone and an email they would, for the future, like to find an appropriate, easy and a fast tool for teleconferencing and sharing pre-production data that will enable even faster problem solving and answering technical questions.


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Radim Vítek
PCB Production Manager