March 9, 2023
VIEWPOINT 2023: Jeff Korpus, Global Product Manager, Bowman XRF
Business was solid. We developed the A Series XRF under contract with a major semiconductor manufacturer, and experienced steady growth in our customer base for both PCB/semiconductors and general parts finishing. Thanks to robust marketing and trade show exhibits by Bowman SEA, our exports to Asia set a record in 2022. We also expanded our distributor network, so we now have more extensive coverage in South America and the Middle East.
Will you be launching new products or services in 2023?
Archer software will be released during Q1. This will be a great advantage for the semiconductor side of our business in that it will facilitate customization for process automation. In addition, our W, M, and A Series XRFs will be equipped with an ultra-precise stage, and pattern recognition that will recognize positions and autocorrect itself. Also on the docket for 2023: a focus on robotic sample handling.
Have supply chain shortages caused problems for your company in 2022 and what have you done to reduce these issues in 2023?
It has mostly worked to our advantage! All 8 of our XRF instruments are manufactured in the US, so we could deliver systems throughout North America, without difficulty. We also have multiple nearby vendors for critical components.
Several new customers ordered systems because foreign XRF manufacturers were unable to deliver in a reasonable time. Fortunately, our largest distributors in Europe and Asia had stock of popular models, and where there was a longer lead time, customers were willing to wait.
What we are working on for 2023?:
We asked customers in the US and internationally what new features they’d like to see, and Archer came about as a result of those surveys. It is as user-friendly as our previous software platform, Xralizer, with added features and abilities. Among them are a new Graphical User Interface, RoHS capability, and fully customizable reports with no MS needed. A few others that are important are datum matching, recalibration in analysis mode, and support for robotic sample handling.
Our top new products/services for 2022 were:
The A Series Micro XRF, which can process 2 million+ counts per second, was launched in 2022. It measures the smallest X-ray features in semiconductors and microelectronics, and accommodates both the largest PCB panels and the smallest wafers.
What our customers are telling us about 2023:
Electronic components continue to miniaturize. What customers want from us is instrument accuracy, speed, reliability, and ease of use, regardless of whether the user is a line worker, a lab tech – or a new hire.
Broadly speaking, Europe and Asia both have solid orders for Q1, and in the US, there's cautious optimism about the business climate. "Soft landing" has replaced "recession" as the most credible prediction, and to consult history, the economy has generally flagged in the months before the midterms and prospered after them. In the year after the midterms, the economy typically performs best of our four-year election cycle.
Jeff Korpus, Global Product Manager
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