In mid October of 2022, we sent our process engineer, Aurelia Montoya, out to Arizona in search of the latest news and technologies in photochemical etching. After a few days of fun and learning, she came back and gave us a recap of her experience at the event:
What is the PCMI conference?
PCMI stands for Photo Chemical Machining Institute. It’s an international organization of companies that are related to the PCM industry in any step of the process, whether it’s PCM companies or companies that supply materials/equipment used by the PCM industry. The conference is an opportunity for PCMI members to learn and grow their business and knowledge through technical sessions, discussions, networking, and facility tours.
What did you enjoy about this event?
I enjoyed getting the opportunity to meet other engineers who have similar roles as I do and learning what their experiences are like. I also really enjoyed how welcoming and supportive the members of PCMI and the organizers of the conference are.
How was it compared to past PCMI events you’ve attended?
I’ve only been to one other PCMI conference in Fall of 2019 before the start of the pandemic. The attendees were as welcoming and knowledgeable as I remember. I definitely appreciated having more years of experience this time around because I had a deeper understanding of the topics we were discussing.
What did you learn?
Overall I learned that many of the problems we face at Elcon, whether with the process or with raw materials, are shared with fellow PCM manufacturers. There’s new and improved technology that provides slightly different ways to laminate and expose panels or that makes etching and other process steps more efficient. I also learned that the PCM industry is taking its environmental impact seriously and making an effort to find alternatives for waste disposal.
Any interesting or fun tidbits?
The day before the start of the conference was a planned day of activities for members which included a trip to Sedona and a wine tasting. I think incorporating fun activities adds to the heart of the organization and is something I greatly appreciate. I was nervous about meeting new people and being the only one there representing Elcon, but felt much more comfortable after some casual fun with other attendees.