Developments - 04.29.2019

To Survive is to Improve

How are you taking advantage of your room for improvement?

Pete Anniss

Companies cannot make a long-term living on providing the same service, or selling the same product, without improving it in some way. How many different designs does Coca-cola need, or how many new flavors? As many as it takes to get people to come back, and new customers to notice.

Datum has always provided the best products for stencil application; we provide the highest-quality services and we are proud to continue that tradition. We are now moving into a more added-value area to be able to provide our customers with more bespoke manufactured products.

There is always room for improvement.

One of the areas we have concentrated on is supplying foils for step stencils.

Step stencils are stencils that have areas of different thicknesses. In the past, and in some areas of the world today, these have been produced by chemical etching. Chemical etching gives far less control than a mechanical process, but it is cheaper and faster, which most consumers focus on. Chemical etching is prone to variable thickness in the final product and rough surfaces in its finish. In short, while you may save money by using chemical etching, you sacrifice quality and performance. That’s why Datum has developed a milling process that provides tighter control and consistency across the areas of multiple thickness. When you couple that technology with our expanding pool of industry experts, we are able to provide the highest quality services with the efficiency our customers are used to.

This milling process is fast becoming the method of production of step stencils that the market is demanding. Consumers have seen story after story of products failing because companies decided to cut corners, or go with the cheaper option, and they recognize that it never pays to be cheap.

Datum, through our independent position within the market, and supplying to all of the stencil houses, has taken this opportunity and made investments into equipment and process development. We know where the future is headed, and are willing to invest today to make sure we come out on top tomorrow. We’re not satisfied with simply doing good enough, we want to be the best, and being the best requires hard work today.

The process we now have offers multi-level foil blanks for stencil houses to create step stencils without making the large investment needed into in-house equipment. This is a huge leap in industry productivity. A lot of the stencil houses are smaller operations that don’t have the consumer demand that warrants the investment into a milling machine and experienced engineers to produce the step stencil blanks. They’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. They can’t produce the high quality products that the market wants because they can’t afford them, but they can’t afford them because consumers don’t want what they’re making not at large amounts.

Datum can offer an independent source for these that stencil houses can order alongside their stock sheets to continue to supply this part of the market with the best product on the market. We recognize the importance of making sure that all sectors of the market are serviced, because it’s not just the large companies that make everything work.

Our steel thickness tolerances are the tightest within the market and the criteria at which we produce our step stencil blanks to is also the tightest. This subsequently means that the base stencil, (which is commonly perceived to be the most critical part of the surface mount technology process) has the best tolerances and takes away any variability which opens the windows of possibility wider of what can be printed at all.

With a strong foundation of expertise, innovation, and technology, we expect to see many more leaps forward in not only our own process, but in the industry as a whole. We are excited to work with our clients on how we can improve, because they faster we improve, the better products everyone gets.

That’s the way to survive today’s environment. That’s the way to improve. That’s the way to become number one.