The Supplier View: An Interview with Hamed El Abd

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Starkey: Do you see an increasing amount of automation and an increasing amount of computer integration?

El Abd: Automation is a given. I've been talking about automation for the last 10 years. Without automation, this industry cannot more forward. Things are going to be too expensive. You must move forward with automation, and when I say automation, I mean taking a PCB plant from 1,500 people maybe to less than 20, and having everything else lights-out, automated machines. This is coming; it has already sprung up in America, and you will see it here. The problem that I see is we're not even looking, whether it's government, industry, or anyone else, at what are we going to do with all of these people that we lay off.

Starkey: That could be a major concern.

El Abd: That's a major concern that needs to be addressed.

Starkey: From your point of view as a supplier of technology, and looking at the Chinese market, what sort of technology is the industry investing in?

El Abd: There's a lot of new things coming, including 3D printing of printed circuit boards.

Starkey: Do you see that as a reality?

El Abd: I can't tell you that, because I don't know, but I believe that these are technologies that we have to take seriously. We can't ignore them.

Starkey: I think it's already established that very simple circuits can be produced off a 3D printer.

El Abd: Today, it's very simple circuits. Tomorrow, we don't know. We would have thought a lot of things would have changed. LED technology is changing, and how it impacts laser technology is changing.  All these things are coming, and it's a question of what are we going to do, and how are we going to use this technology today?

Starkey: Hamed, I've interrupted a busy morning for you. I really appreciate you sharing your views with us.

El Abd: No, thank you very much. I appreciate it any time, so please come by.

Starkey: Thanks very much indeed. I'll let you get back to business.

El Abd: Thanks a lot, sir.


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