Ventec Shares Their Insights on the Laminate Market, Part I


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I-Connect007’s Barry Matties sat down with the COO of Ventec USA/Europe, Mark Goodwin, to discuss the laminate market as a whole, the market segments behind that growth, and how Ventec has positioned itself in the thermal management space.

Matties: Mark, can you begin by giving our readers a little of your background in the industry—not just where you have worked, but the tasks you’ve done?

Goodwin: I started in this business for a company called Photocircuits. Not the big American Photocircuits, but a little photoplotting bureau in Barton-le-Clay, in Bedfordshire, England. I worked there from ‘83 to ‘90, and I started off with red and blue reductions, red and blue separations and taped artworks on a big Littlejohn wooden camera. ventec-editorial-LittlejohnProcessCamera.jpgThen I ended up in a sales role, but that was at a point when everybody started buying laser plotters and the business was clearly going to have to change and decline. I kind of realized that and when I saw Isola’s advert in the Luton news I remember thinking, “Well, every circuit board needs laminate and lots of it. It only needs one set of artwork and they use lots of laminate. It's got to be a better bet.” They offered me a job with a mobile phone and a company car, and that always swings it, doesn't it? In 1990, I started with Isola.

Matties: Was sales something that you were interested in?

Goodwin: I was already selling for Photocircuits, technical selling. I'm a great believer in people that look back and discover they’ve had a career. I know very few people that have written it down on a sheet of paper and said, I'm going to do this, this, and this and then have actually gone and done it.

I just see opportunities and take them—or not—but mostly the good ones I've taken. And you know, I got a great education in the laminate business and owe a lot to Manfred Cygon, a really good guy. I spent the first two or three months at Isola working in the factory in Cumbernauld, and then working in Cygon’s labs in Düren, Germany and that gave me a very good grounding on materials. I always said, and I really believe this, that I'm not a technical guy, not at the level of detail you really need to be a technical guy, but I do understand all of the concepts that go on in this business, and I really attribute that to Manfred Cygon, who was a fantastically good guy.

Matties: How long did you work at Isola?

Goodwin: I was there until 2004 and then disappeared out of the business for 18 months or so in a non-compete and joined Ventec at beginning of 2007. The rest is Ventec history. We started with a 1985-vintage Schmid saw and a Rosenthal slitter from when Pontius was a Pilate.

Matties: It's quite a climb from there to here.

ventec-editorial-saw.jpg

Goodwin: I know. We've got state-of-the-art equipment now. Some people say we should have big Schelling saws, but I disagree for the UK market. The UK market is low-volume, high-mix, so why do you want an automated, big piece of kit? We've got big automated saws in the German facility where we have the kind of volumes that dictate that. It’s far better off to have two small manual saws for the UK market, which is high-mix, low-volume, and service-driven. It gives you two things: the first is redundancy, but because we run two saws eight hours a day we gain bandwidth and If we have one piece of kit go down, we can run one saw 16 hours a day and still keep all our customers supplied.

Matties: So capacity and redundancy.

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