BROCK Newsletter Summer 2021

Another Covid Summer, eh!
And another work-from-home newsletter. But it feels like the travel thing is coming back strong. Hope that Delta variant doesn't screw things up again. And while I'm looking forward to getting back on the road & seeing everyone again, I must say I could use an international travel vacation too! I can almost smell the stew from here, but a way-overdue trip back home to Ireland is on the schedule somehwere in the future! LOL

Hope you enjoy the newsletter & give me a shout if you want more info on anything.

Stay safe out there.

August 2021

1 - HMT Solder - Shop Local!
2 - New Line, Old Efficiency?
3 - Lead Times
4 - Import Costs
7 - InnoScopes
8 - A Blast from the Past!
9 - 1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk

HMT Solder
Shop Local!

We've been hearing a lot about supporting local business during the pandemic. We took it beyond fish 'n' chips from the local food truck & we are delighted to announce a new partnership with HMT Solder. HMT grew out of a solder & flux supply company that was focused on providing product through distribution channels. Now, HTM Solder  is focused on direct sales to our industry> HMT offers solder bar & liquid flux, along with a full range of past, cored wire & tacky fluxes. All competitively priced, locally made & supported.  And they have a talented team to back the products.

We are delighted to once again work with Leigh Gesick, HMT's R&D & Product Delelopment Manager. Along with our old friend, Gilbert Roberge, Technical Support Manager.
Based out of Ancaster, ON, HMT is positioned to provide a totally local solution for solder & fluxes.
Please let us know if you would like to learn more & remember to ...


New Line, Old Efficiency?

The new SMT line is up & running. It is twice the speed of the old line, but did the output double? Sometimes, the line utilsation numbers haven't improved much, if at all. Keeping an SMT line, new or old, producing efficiently is key to maximising output. And return.

Often, the line is not the problem, it is the support structure around it that causes inefficiencies. One of the most common problems is the timely delivery of parts.

Cluso InvMan makes parts delivery to the line smarter. The companies providing the placement machines recognise this too. Cluso is working with the likes of Fuji, Panasonic & Hanwha to integrate this smarter parts management system into the lne efficiency equation. They are also working with some prominent X-Ray parts counters suppliers too. It's probably no harm to know how many parts are on the reel too, eh!

Lead Times

Hard to imagine that the economy & our industry is generally doing so well after a year & a half of pandemic challenges. While not all sectors & businesses are running full throttle, many served by PCB assembly are on fire.

To invert an old saying ...  every silver cloud has a grey lining now. The demand for product is pushing the demand for equipment. Some of which is impacted  by that more widespread  component shortage.

If you have an upcoming project, or if you need to increase your production capacity, start early! Or at least factor in some longer lead time allowance to procure your equipment of choice. It's a constantly changing situation, but lead times can be extended by  as much as 50%.

Import Costs

Do you know what your customs broker charges you for clearing an inbound shipment?

The import process can be sometimes be a bit of a blind spot in our procurement process. Particularly when it comes to small repeat orders for consumables.

Some consumables in our industry are readily available from Canada, the US, & online from other regions. As a supplier of consumables, such as understencil printer rolls & tape leaders (extenders), we buy in bulk. The import charges are part of the landed cost of the shipment. But, because of the volume, are only a very small part of the selling price of each item.

Check your brokerage fees. Small orders, coming in from outside Canada, can sometimes carry a brokerage fee worth more than the order!


Like Cluso, InnoScopes grew from an EMS operation. Some folk can't find exactly what they are looking for on the market, so they build it themselves. 

Coming from inside, these guys know what they want from an inspection scope. And they know how much they want to pay for it. Now, under the InnoScopes banner, they share inspection solutions that might work for the rest of us too.

They offer digital microscopes specifically for rework, so you can actually get your hands & a soldering iron under it! And for PCB inspection. They offer a full range of very cost effective standard stereo zoom microscopes & accessories too.

Understencil Wiping Rolls on SALE

We are discontinuing this part number (LWR-003) of understencil wiping roll & there are 8 or 10 cases going cheap. Designed to fit an older vintage DEK Horizon® printer. If you don't have this model, you might be able to use them anyway. They are lint free & can be used for offline stencil cleaning. Or cut them into smaller sheets to clean other sensitive items. Specs: 19.8mm inner core, 25.4mm outer core, 490mm paper width, 530mm core length,  roll is 50.8mm total diameter & is 9.14m long. The price is reduced from US$437.50 U.S. per Case of 50 to US$150 until the inventory is depleted. Let me know if you want some.

Lessons Learned while Working-from-Home

Buy a heavy-duty office chair & don't put on too much weight! 
Recently, the spring in the pic popped out of some mechanism on my chair. I think it must have been a spare, everything seems to still be working! LOL

People keep telling me to spend the money & set up properly for work at home. Buy the bigger 2nd monitor, add a decent microphone & camera.

Then there's the list of warnings ... see what you have in the background & don't forget to brush your hair before the online meeting! And don't use those fake digital backgrounds that make the outline of your head & hair look weird. 

Yeah, I did all the above! LOL 

I'm no stranger to working from home but, man, I could really use a trip or two about now! I'm ready for a vaccine.

A Blast from the Past!

Do you recognise this guy? Ray & I spent a few years working together on Montreal's south shore. We worked on some special machines back then, but maybe not quite as special as Ray's Ruby Red  1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk. Ray calls her Ruby & there's a little more about her below!


I've been in Canada more than half my life & I'm probably more Canadian than Irish at this point. I can no longer pronounce tomato properly anymore, for example! I'm not kidding, it totally messes up my head & my tongue. Of course, by the 3rd pint of the black stuff, I'm 100% Irish again! LOL

There is no question, we have some amazing stuff here. The scenery on either, or all, coasts of Canada is amazing. The multicultural melee that comprises most of our major cities. We can even go to Europe