PCB Repair: Thoughtful Best Practices


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I recently spoke with Curtis Smith of Huntron about the critical factors that somebody needs to understand about the plant maintenance regarding the PCB repair process. The PCB repair process is not just a matter of just getting the equipment anymore but finding the right people with a troubleshooting mindset that can do it. A failed PCB can bring down an entire manufacturing line, and companies need to be able to repair the board and keep their manufacturing going.

Barry Matties: Curtis, can you give us a brief overview of Huntron?

Curtis Smith: Huntron has been in business for over 40 years now, and it started with building a very simple troubleshooting tool for finding faults on a circuit card. It has escalated from there. The products have gotten better, and technology has changed, which has also driven how the products have changed. But we still have our core business of selling to third-party repair, small shops, and large shops who want to do in-house circuit board repair. We help them do their job. As technology has changed to surface-mount, our traditional way of troubleshooting with hand probes entirely changed. We got into robotics right around 1991, which helps our customers automate the process that they would normally have to do by hand. It’s a time-saver and allows for labor savings. The equipment itself is fairly expensive, but they regain that back in the time saved by not having to sit there and do something by hand.

Matties: Are you saying you’re offering the tools initially, but you also do the actual service of repair?

Smith: We don’t do repair ourselves. We’ll certainly train people on this because our customer, typically, is somebody who may already be into repair, but they just need to make the process better. We help the customer save time by approaching it more intelligently rather than just, “We think it might be this component here, so let’s replace it and see if that fixes it.” It has been a good business, and our customer base really runs the gamut of anybody who’s doing repair; it could be medical, military, avionics, or mass transit.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the December 2019 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.

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