The Many Faces of Cost

The Many Faces of Cost

Many of us are familiar with the saying concerning the workman and his tools. It exposes the unfortunate tendency that, when looking upon obvious failure, blame is placed on the tools rather than how they were employed. Looking at this from the reverse side, this maxim is similar to saying that there is a positive relationship between knowledge and competence. In other words, all other things being equal, the greater the command of any given set of skills, the less risk is involved in any set of actions monetizing those skills utilizing the tools that are available.

What is initially a very simple premise soon erupts into complexity, especially the more closely we examine other critical factors. Context—and initial assumptions—are everything. As noted in earlier blogs, more thoroughly understanding background and nuance can swiftly change initial perceptions and judgements. Perhaps the example we come across about most is “price”. Yet, how often do we really engage with the true cost of a thing, and if we do, how clear-headed and genuinely accurate are we in judging true value for money?

Rather than being what really matters, the “sticker price” ought to be the starting point of a much longer and potentially much more detailed process. We need to search for the demonstrable outcomes per dollar invested over a particular time-frame. Unlike the stock market where the distance between performance and physical production seems to becoming ever more distant (the value of social media platforms for example), this is not true of the broad semi-conductor market. Such distinctions are important to us at Palomar because we have never sold just machines per se, but always prided ourselves on selling complete systems designed to secure demonstrable outcomes.

Solutions that cover not only a wide variety of packaging challenges, from legacy to cutting edge, but challenges that are very definitely evolving over time. In other words, in technologies that are getting more demanding, if not more unexpectedly complex. For example, improved power utilization is straightforward in theory, but physical proximities within the package can cause all sorts of chaos. These, and many others, are the problems we face every day in providing solutions. Proverbially put, this leads into our commercial pitch in saying that a strong and demonstrable connection between “bang” and “buck” is the essence of the right price, when the outcomes is time sensitive solutions both for us and our customers.

Like Janus of Roman mythology, our systems are specifically engineered to embrace beginnings, transitions, and endings, technical and commercial. The “stem cells” of micro-construction and electronics. This is because our tools are designed around the needs of engineering building blocks. If your company’s goal is to serve and maintain historic but long-life and vitally dependable components, we serve these well. At the other end of the spectrum, if you are just starting on the potentially long path of prototyping, our systems are not only ideal, but to the user seemingly designed to do nothing so well and efficiently as innovate. In the middle there is that stage of market entry and initial consumer traction. Here not only flexibility, but repeatability and dependability are our watchwords.

Above all, our tools are designed to meet the demand of the unexpected and sudden. One recent customer approach concluded with, “I never thought we would be asked to supply some of these again, but how to make them to an urgent timetable, when half of the original parts no longer exist. Can you help?”

If “sticker price” is one distraction from what really matters, another is “technical machine specification”. All too often the latter refers to optimal performance under perfect conditions. That is not what interests the operations manager. “What is the yield under normal conditions over time?” “Not just today either, but five years time and beyond”. Can that performance be maintained, tools, and processes be adapted to the point of product maturity, i.e., when further technical improvements are no longer possible or viable? In short, it is only when these elements are collectively added together that genuine technical ability and true cost meet.

One of the key drivers behind Palomar’s roadmap of ambitious development for our new assembly services capabilities at our center in Germany, is the synergy between ever more diverse potential customers and ever more diverse needs of existing customers. Mythical god he may be, but the principles we have attributed to Janus truly flourish here, and certainly provide a further window into what service and systems mean to our customers.

Firmly rooted in decades of serving customers across the European continent, inside and outside the EU, our recently established assembly services division in Erlangen is ten minutes away from Nuremberg International Airport, and no more than three hours away from any major center spanning Edinburgh to Istanbul, Madrid to Helsinki. With centers in the US and Singapore, our added presence in Germany means Palomar’s assembly services are now globally local. Yet global in another way also. With such a very large diversity of packaging challenges facing our customers, it means that accumulated knowledge and experience at any one center ends up enhancing the other two. Thus, drawing on decades of experience from our Carlsbad assembly services, and flourish of development activity driving activity in Singapore, our facility in Germany has both robust models to follow and high expectations to meet.

For European customers this offers opportunities in the area of die attach such as epoxy die bonding, eutectic die bonding, flip chip, thermocompression bonding, and wire bonding, such as ball bonding, gold ball bumping, stud bumping and more. For more information on our assembly services in Germany, visit our PTG Assembly Services page.

Download the Contract Manufacturing and Process Development Brochure - Europe for more information: 

Contract Manufacturing and Process Development - Europe


Dr. Anthony O'Sullivan
Strategic Market Research Specialist
Palomar Technologies