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By Jim Colombo (USA)

Chapter 10

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            August 1, 1965 T & B printed circuits expanded into a larger facility.  Lytron

grew as well and had two shifts making boards.  More friends from Sylvania were hired

at Lytron with Jess Frankman in purchasing, Larry Georgetown in charge of production

control, Dennis Ophine was responsible for both shifts of manufacturing, and Norris

Cutter was responsible for screening that was now called Imaging.  Milan worked harder

and monthly sales and production goals increased from $50,000 to $100,000.  Lytron

had a good reputation for quality, on time delivery, and accepted most printed circuit

board order no matter how difficult for established customer. There were about ten

printed circuit board shops in the valley that soon would be called Silicon Valley.  Lytron

was a reliable source for good customers and would accommodate their needs.

            Joe had refined the acid bath copper plating process and Ben Nakamora's health

was deteriorating from breathing toxic fumes, drinking, and his method of chemical

analyst.  He would sticking his finger in the plating bath and made addition by the taste

of the bath; too salty add sulfuric acid, too sourer add peptone.  This drove Joe nuts, but

every time Joe would analyze Ben's plating bath, Ben would be in the acceptable range.

Joe had appreciated Ben's contribution to Lytron, but Ben's health was deteriorating

fast.  Joe had a replacement in mind and Ben could help Joe plan jobs.  Ben did not

appreciate being in the same room with Joe and believed that Joe was keeping an eye

on him and his dinking. Two weeks latter Raul Fernandez began as plating supervisor. 

Ben had hired a skinny kid who had dropped out of high school and had taught Raul all

that he knew about plating. Ben could not accept Raul replacing him.  A week later

Joe as informed by the Santa Clara Police that Ben had been drinking and drove his car

off highway 17 while going to Santa Cruz. He had hit a tree at the bottom of a ravine

and burst into flames.  Ben was having marital problems, he was replaced by Raul; who

he had trained, and he was drunk more than sober.  Rest in peace, Ben.

            Joe had maintained a steady production pace, but Milan brought in more jobs.

Joe's crew was working ten hour a day six days a week.  The workload increased to

six days a week the first two weeks and seven days a week the last two weeks.

Everyone felt the strain and Joe met with Milan.  Joe suggested that they start

graveyard for all departments, that drilling and programming would work six days a

week eight hour a day, and the other members of the crew would work six days a week

for the last two weeks of the month.  The scrap rate had increased as the workload had


Printed circuit boards were fused ( heating copper with tin-lead traces to become

solder) by dipping the board into a preheated tank of fusing oil at 240 degrees to temper

the traces prior to the 410 degree dip.  It was a tedious job with the heat and breathing

the solder fumes.  Joe bought an inline conveyer driven fuser with a finishing solution

line at the end of the fusing process.  It was state of the art and with conveyer speed set

to the optimum rate cold spots and delaminating were eliminated.  Those who put in the

hours and maintained quality where rewarded with promotions and pay raises.  They

were the hard core who accepted a life of long hours and back breaking work.  Joe
called them board rats and improved the methods of making boards, improved safety,

and bought the best  protective rubber boots, plastic gloves and aprons, and visors. 

The guys learned that acid quickly ate through jeans, but the cheap polyester pants

bought at Montgomery Wards repelled acid.  You could always spot a plater wearing

green and orange checkered pants.

            Sylvania was best known for making light bulbs and a popular TV soap opera

was called "The Guiding Light," hence the new hirers from Sylvania were referred to as

 "The Guiding Lights."    Jess Frankman was a short man who looked like President

Harry Truman.  He was in his early fifties and had worked at Sylvania for twenty-six

years in Purchasing.  He had retired from Sylvania and had earned a comfortable

pension.  Working at Lytron was a favor to Joe and a new experience in a different

commodity.  He had a dry sense of humor.  Jess enjoyed listening to a young whipper-

snapper try to educate him with the salesman's presentation.   Then at the end of an

enthusiastic presentation Jess would ask many questions to see if the salesman knew

the product.  If he did, Jess would take the product information, say that he would

consider it, and thank him for his time.  If he was just beginning and had more hot air

than substance Jess would refer to them as greenhorns, because they didn't know all

about the product.  Jess would try to educate the lad about his product, but most of the

time the lads where turned off by the crusty old man.  
            Larry Georgetown was in charge of Production Control and charted every job

regarding the start time, the location of the job in the different processes, completion,

and delivery.  He had two assistant: Greg Kelley who kept track of inventory to make

boards like chemicals and laminate, and support inventory like office supplies and Ray

Moss who kept track of all of the orders and their progress towards completion.  Greg

Kelley was an alcoholic who brought a large thermal filled half with coffee and vodka

who began the day with blue-blood shot eyes that became flaming red by the end of the

day.  He did all of his ordering at the beginning of the day when he could discern the

different between ten and one-thousand.   His nick name was snake eyes.  Ray Moss

wore thick glasses, was disorganized, and was always in a rush.  It was like watching

someone trying to be at two places at once.  His nick name was the Mad Hatter.  Larry

Georgetown was college educated, wore good suits, and liked the ladies.  He hired an

attractive Mexican lady in her early twenties who had a nice set of hardware as his

secretary.  Her name was Rita and the lads referred to her as The Tease.  Rita enjoyed

being admired and tried to display as much of her hardware s possible.  She never

dated anyone from work and just wanted to be friends.  Some times a handsome

gentleman would come by at lunch time and the lads could only imagine what it would

be like with Rita.

            Dennis Ophine had a degree in Engineering from UCLA and considered Lytron

as an education in a new field.  He would spend a year and move on to an established

company like IBM or GE.  He was a hands on manager and quickly learned the

processes, what could go wrong, and how to fix the problem.  He reorganized the flow

of manufacturing with each process inspected and signed off on the traveler.  When

Lytron was smaller Joe made each worker inspect his work. Now that Lytron had

expanded the production workers concentrated on pushing product through and didn't

have the time do in process inspection.  Dennis wanted more in process inspection, less

scrap, and less time in rework.  The scrap rate average about four percent per month

which was acceptable for the volume manufactured.  Dennis had become the Quality

Manger not by choice and two months latter hired Pete Hanson from Fairchild who had

gone to UCLA with Dennis.  

            Norris Cutter was from West Virginia and had worked at the utility company in

Wheeling.    He became a shovel man in a gas gang of six and dreamed of going to

California.  After a year of digging and weathering a snowy winter, he moved to

California and settled in Mountain View, California near Santa Clara.  His first job was

cleaning screens and exposing film images on stainless steel mesh screens at

Printex, a printed circuit board manufacturer.  He became a good screener and in time

became lead person.  Norris was ambushes and had a good reputation.  He applied at

Lytron and Joe hired him.  Joe told Norris if he could not handle being a supervisor of

screening, he would keep him as a lead and hire some one as supervisor.  Joe had

heard that Norris was a good and wanted to give him a chance.  To Joe's surprise

Norris improved screening with better equipment, trained good screeners, and told Joe

that it was no longer called screening, but imagining.          

            Printed circuit board manufacturing required an 8 1/2 by 11 inch traveler that

accompanied the order and listed all of the processes, the type of material, the length

and width of each sheet of material, number of sheets needed, the number of

boards made per panel, the size of drills used, the fabrication tool, the finished plating

thickness, the working copy of the film, the legend and the color used, the solder mask,

and a four digit number used when tracking the job.  The traveler had a work order

number that was stamped on each panel of the order. The traveler listed all of the

process required, the drilling program number, the delivery date, and who was the


The drilling program tape was numbered and listed on the traveler.  It consisting

of a paper tape one inch wide by how ever long the program was.  The drilling tape was

fed in a pneumatic drilling machine with an X Y grid that located the hole locations on

the board. The grid began at the bottom left and traveled up on an X axis and traveled

right on a Y axis. The drilling machine had a six by four foot by six inch thick marble

table with four stacks of printed circuit boards pinned to the marble table and were

drilled four high per stack by four speedy pneumatic drills that automatically stopped at

the end of each drilling size program.   The drilled panels were inspected for correct

hole location.  Then the panels when to plating to get submerged into an Electroless

copper plating bath called cuposist for 12-15 minutes depending on the size of the

panels.  The Electroless bath would deposit about five one hundred-thousandths of a

inch (0.00005) referred to as flash plating on the hole walls and panels.  Then it would

be dipped into a bighting solution called finishing solution.  The Electroless plated

boards then when to imaging to get the design silk screened in black resist ink.  After

baking they went back to plating and the panels and holes were copper plated 0.001

think, then tin lead plated 0.0005 thick.  Then they were etched.  The panels were

striped of black resist exposing the original copper clad.  The tin lead copper traces

looked dull gray.  Ammonia etch solution removed the original copper clad, but didn't

attack the tin lead copper traces exposing the fiber glass laminate and plated traces at

the end of the process.  The panels were (fused) dipped into oil at 240 degrees to

preheat the panels, then dipped into a second tank with 410 degree oil that bonded the

tin lead into solder over copper traces.  The finished boards were dipped into a solution

for cleaning.  If the traveler required a solders mask or a ledged (indicating were

components were soldered) the panels went back to imaging.  Next the panels were

fabricated to blue print specification.  Inspection took place at every process.  Each

finished board was placed in a plastic bag and 25 boards were packaged in a larger

plastic bag that was bound with tape.  Wa la'!

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