Do You Need Flexibility in Your Quality Control Inspection Processes?

Are you looking for a versatile process inspection platform that can be used for incoming inspection, PCBA inspection or final assembly inspection? If so, look no further than the AmFax a3Di Laser Measurement Inspection System.

The a3Di (automated 3D inspection) is a laser measurement system that measures down to the micron level. The a3Di accomplishes this by using dual blue angled lasers to profile the item under inspection and then compares the results to the target CAD design data.

Today the a3Di is being used by customers to do BGA solder ball inspection. The a3Di is able to verify solder ball placement, solder volume, alignment to center of pad and check for missing solder balls.

One of our a3Di customers is using the system to measure PCBA’s in order to ensure they will fit into a semi-hermetically sealed casing that requires very tight, precise tolerances. Additionally, they use the system to inspect the internal mechanical dimensions of the two casing halves to verify they are properly machined to receive the PCBA.

The a3Di is also being used in final assembly inspection to verify that labels, support stiffeners, screws, washers, connectors and jumpers have all been properly assembled and there are no missing components.

a3Di Laser Measurement Inspection Solutions
Metrology level precision that’s beyond imaging analysis

If you are planning to attend the Apex Show in San Diego late next month, take a moment to stop by the Texmac booth (2932) and say hello. TEAM A.T.E. has been a business partner with Texmac for close to 10 years. We will be exhibiting the AmFax a3Di Laser Measurement System alongside the industry leading Takaya Flying Probe test systems. Come see a demo for yourself.

At TEAM A.T.E. we are always looking for those high demand tools and upgrades that are of interest to our customers. Our searches are focused and targeted to those users who have the equipment you use. As 2018 kicks-off, please keep us in mind to help fill your capital equipment needs. We can often help our customers save precious capital dollars by buying quality pre-owned test and inspection systems.

Mike Blackler
V.P. Sales & Marketing

Holiday Gifts

This is the time of year when a real sense of urgency and outright panic can strike the Holiday gift giver. Figuring out that perfect gift for the ones you love can be a challenge. That’s not to mention finding it within budget and getting it shipped on time.

Now I’m not going to suggest that your loved ones would really appreciate a new flying prober, or that snuggling up to a tri-temp handler is the way to stay warm this winter. Yes, getting a great deal on a Teradyne semiconductor or board test system from TEAM A.T.E. may be a smart way to make the budget work, but is that really important? So TEAM A.T.E. has a broad selection of hard to find Verigy PinScale systems, why should we try to make productive use of that year-end money?

We all have a lot on our minds this time of year, but if you need something and need it before year-end, just let us know and we’ll do our best to make it happen. We may not be selling Holiday gifts, but I’m in a generous frame of mind.

The reason? I have to admit that I have gotten some really good gifts this year, a first ever granddaughter born in August and then a new grandson born just last week. My wife and I have tripled the number of grandchildren this year. This latest little one is a miracle baby. Long wished and prayed for, working his way through numerous complications, he arrived a little early, but healthy and very much loved. These special additions to our family have me feeling particularly grateful and generous.

So this is your chance to take advantage of TEAM’s Grandpa Sale this winter. I don’t see another tripling of the grandchildren in 2018, so take advantage while the deals last.

To all our friends and customers, thank you for your support and working with us at TEAM A.T.E. We wish all of you the happiest of holidays and a prosperous New Year.

Kyle Schroeder

Balancing Pride and Humility

Pride is such a double-edged sword. Taking pride in your work can be a good thing, but having too much self-pride to be able to listen and learn can be a terrible flaw. Having too much pride to admit your mistakes while deflecting blame onto others is not the mark of good leadership.

Humility is a key ingredient for leadership. Having humility doesn’t mean a person lacks a strong resolve or the will to succeed. They may lack confidence at times, but real leaders inspire others to achieve and excel. When goals are obtained, strong leadership acknowledges the contributions of others and shares the credit.

These key traits of leadership are built on a foundation of integrity. To follow leadership, we must have faith in its integrity and ability to make ethical decisions.

At TEAM A.T.E. we try to follow these principles every day in our interactions with customers and each other. While taking pride in the products we deliver, we work with great resolve in each transaction to earn our customer’s trust. While we have many years of experience in these ATE markets, we also know we always have a lot to learn from our customers. Our operating principles of Creativity, Integrity and Performance have driven us for over 25 years. We hope that when your company needs to expand or shrink test capacity, the first step you take is to contact TEAM A.T.E.

To all our customers, we hope that your lives include many things to be especially thankful for this year. (Maybe like me, new grandchildren) To those customers in the United States, please accept our best wishes to you and your families for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.


Kyle Schroeder

How Big is Your Universe?

On August 30th my son and his wife had their second child, a beautiful baby girl. She is our second grandchild (our oldest daughter will deliver the third grandchild in December). In September we visited my son’s family in Portland and I ended up spending a lot of time with my grandson who is 3 ½ and adjusting to being a big brother.

In an instant, his world has changed. This little guy has been the center of his family’s universe for the last three plus years, but now he has to share some space and attention. I think this is a wonderful thing and he will become a much more balanced person because of it. Soon he will not just be thinking about himself and what pleases him. His perceived universe is expanding.

Spending time with him made me think back to when I was a little big brother. I too had to learn not to just think about myself. As a big brother I had to watch out for and protect my little brother. I also thought back to my college fraternity days and how the “only child” guys had to learn to live with 60+ “brothers,” but once they did, they reveled in brotherhood.

It is so important in life to know yourself and what’s driving you. It’s about being confident and comfortable in yourself while not being self-centered, to expand your perceptions and consider the impact you have on those around you. The bigger and more diverse your universe, the broader your impact can be. Don’t let your ego get in the way of learning. It can take a lifetime to learn these lessons, but fortunately my grandson is off to a good start with help from his little sister.

When you partner with TEAM A.T.E., you will see this philosophy runs throughout our sales organization. We are not self-centered. We have a diverse and international group striving to understand your needs and challenges. We want our proposals and transactions to make economic sense for your company and ours. It is not all about TEAM’s profit targets. If we do business in a way that builds strong relationships with our customers, we will be successful.

Wouldn’t you rather work with someone who doesn’t think it’s all about them?

Kyle Schroeder

Protecting My Piece of the Pie

As a business owner, entrepreneur and financier during periods of my career, I have always tried to take the approach of working with the right partners. By aligning goals, being straightforward in communications and building trust in these relationships, I have generally enjoyed successful collaborations. I have tried hard to avoid the approach of only looking out for myself.

When counseling businesses on taking on outside investment, I have told them to choose their new partners wisely, make sure they share the same goals and focus on building a bigger pie for all, not just protecting their slice.

With TEAM A.T.E., we have taken a similar approach with our customers trying to work with them in a way that is creative, fair and consistent. Some customers may not appreciate this, but most do and often they are the ones we enjoy working with the most.

In a world that seems to be jumping from crisis to crisis, maybe backing up and looking at the big picture can help. We are all in this together. We can’t just think about ourselves. How do we make things work better for all of us?

Let’s make a bigger pie. Let us know how we can help.

Kyle Schroeder

Making a Move

This month my wife and I moved out of our house we’ve owned for 28 years.  When we first bought it in 1989, it had been sitting vacant on the market for 18 months. Being built in 1911, it required a lot of work, which deterred interest from potential buyers.  We, however, saw the potential in the house and its craftsmen architecture.

My wife and I created a wonderful home for our four children.  We’ve had five dogs over the years and made a lifetime of memories.  Over time we invested in projects to improve the house and preserve its character.

Our children are now successful, grown adults with limited rebound potential.  For my wife and I, it felt like it was time to move on to the next chapter of our lives. It wasn’t an easy decision to part with such a special home and leave Denver’s Historic Park Hill neighborhood.  However, after all the emotions and work, we didn’t realize the most difficult part was going to be ahead of us.

The decision to sell was easy compared to actually moving.  For the past five years, my wife has been diligent about “de-junking,” as she calls it, but when it came time to move we still had loads of stuff to sort through.  For me, it has always been hard to let go of something I might need down the road.  It was exhausting to organize and de-junk before the moving crew arrived.  I haven’t felt this tired in a long time.  That’s not to say we aren’t happy or excited about this next chapter.

Our new house is in the mountains just west of Denver.  It’s still a pretty easy commute and definitely a more nature-filled lifestyle, which we’ve been seeking.  I think we are going to enjoy it.  As we are settling in, I am recovering from the exhaustion of the move and thought about three key takeaways I could put in a newsletter:

  • 1) Don’t be afraid to de-junk and clean out some of the stuff you are not using.  Be realistic about whether you are going to use something.  If you decide you want to turn some surplus ATE assets into cash, we are here for you.
  • 2) If you are trying to maintain something that’s outdated, it’s good to know a pack rat like TEAM A.T.E.  You might be surprised at the systems we can support and the inventory we have in the U.S. and Taiwan.   Don’t under estimate the effort required to go to a new platform, but rather make new technology make sense for you.  Why would I have replaced 100-year-old stained glass windows or the wonderful woodwork in the house when it gave it so much of its beauty and character?
  • 3) Making a move is okay.  Just make sure you maintain friendships and take your loved ones with you.

I guess there is one more point.  We are all going to be moving at some point.  Don’t be afraid to be a little more prepared.  I hope I have learned my lesson.  If we can help, let us know.

Yours truly,
Kyle Schroeder

Feets, Don’t Fail Me Now!

So what do you think of when you read this phrase?  For me, it’s being dragged out on the dance floor and hoping my feet will know what to do.  It’s being in one of those dreams where I can’t seem to run, my legs are too heavy and my feet are stuck in the mud.

This phrase has always made me smile.  It is believed to have originated in the African American community, during or after slavery.  Various musicians have used it as a title for albums, songs and videos.  While it seems to be in fun, it does include an element of fear, a contemplation of failure.

While I don’t want to minimize the importance of your feet and their impact on your health and happiness, we humans can be pretty adaptable.  However, there are a lot of systems and equipment we heavily rely on everyday, some that may not get much maintenance or have a set of spares.  How many of our customers have the budget to deal with common equipment failures on their test floor?

So, while TEAM A.T.E. might not be able to do much for your feet, we can help you maintain test systems with parts and support.  Check with us when those needs pop up and we’ll do our best to put those fears to rest.

Kyle Schroeder

Give Us Inspiration

Where does one acquire inspiration?  Does it appear as divine inspiration from some unknown source? Is it part knowledge and understanding, with a lot of persistence and determination thrown in?  Does it benefit from experience?  Writing this monthly article requires inspiration, which got me to thinking.

Excellent leadership inspires, in the same way poor leadership can destroy morale and innovation.  Certainly communicating a vision and inspiration people can get behind is a key measure of leadership.

Where does creative inspiration come from?  Does it come from within or from some outside influence?  Some might say artistic inspiration is something you’re born with but even the greatest talents have to find inspiration to truly create a masterpiece.  Maybe that is where divine inspiration comes in.

Where do you find inspiration in your everyday work?  This can be tough, but we all have parts of our work where we can strive to be creative and look for inspiration.  I have struggled with repetitive tasks at times and always looked for a better way to do things.  Automation will hopefully eliminate many repetitive tasks.  If so, will we make use of the time to be inspired and creative?

For myself, I’m often inspired by problems and the challenge of solving those issues.  Nothing pushes me into creativity mode more than trying to solve a problem for a customer.  No, we aren’t designing your latest electrical wonder or making your decisions on how to test it, but we are trying to give you realistic options that provide your company with economic benefits.

The more you discuss your problems and issues with us, the more you give us inspiration.  More experience and understanding of issues equals more inspiration and results in more creativity.  So let’s communicate with each other.  Hopefully together we can be inspired and create beautiful solutions!

Kyle Schroeder

May is the Month Of . . .

Fragrant lilacs….. Warmer days….. Spring cleaning….. The end of school….. New life….. Baseball games….. Gentle rains or in Colorado either a last gasp snow storm or a devastating hailstorm.

High school kids are dreaming about or going to proms.  Sports move outside to parks and ball fields.  May kicks off the season of marches, walks and running events for various causes.  In the US, May is National Barbecue Month, National Blood Pressure Month, National Stroke Month, National Military Appreciation Month and National Mental Health Awareness Month just to name a few.

May is the month of Mary.  She gets a whole month, not just a day.  Mother’s Day happens in May to honor all mothers.  That alone makes May special.

So what does this have to do with TEAM A.T.E.?  May for us is the month the truth comes out.  I can always tell if the year is going to be solid by May.  Reasonable activity that starts to grab hold in May is the sign of a good year.  May is also our anniversary month, which I sometimes forget.  I took over running TEAM A.T.E. 26 years ago on May 17th, 1991.  TEAM A.T.E. itself was started in 1986, but my group purchased the company when it was about 5 years old.

So as I’m reflecting on the past 26 years; my kids growing up, my wonderful wife who’s been with me for almost 38 years, grandchildren adding to the family, getting to work with a great group of employees and doing business around the world with integrity and creativity.  Please know how much we appreciate the trust our customers have put in us over this long haul.

Now, let’s get some traction with this activity and turn 2017 into a great year.  Contact us with your equipment needs, surplus lists and test/inspection issues.   We look forward to working with you.

Kyle Schroeder

Golf, Planning, and Test Equipment!

I write the day after one of my favorite sporting events of the year….The Masters golf tournament.  I love to watch it, and I love to play.  Unfortunately I am much better at watching it than playing.  As much as I have rooted against Sergio Garcia over the years and during Ryder Cup matches, I found myself happy for him as he finally won his first Major.

As those of you who play know, golf is a game of repeated frustration interspersed with fleeting moments of glory.  Still, I always arrive at the course with an air of optimism (if not confidence), convinced that all my reading of tips and continued practice will surely pay off in an improved score.   Hope springs eternal.

One of the keys to a consistently successful golf game is proper planning.  Course management and club selection are often just as important as how well you hit the ball.  If you don’t plan your shot, there’s a good chance it isn’t going to end up where you want it, regardless of how well you strike it.  The same goes for equipment purchases.  No matter how good a system looks or sounds, there are always steps that need to be taken to make sure it arrives the way you expect.

We know that buying equipment on the used market can be intimidating, confusing, and that there is risk involved.  When you buy equipment from TEAM A.T.E. we work to add value to the transaction, and mitigate the risk.  We do our best to address all the issues proactively, and construct deals in a way that makes strategic and economic sense for both buyers and sellers.

At TEAM A.T.E., our goal is to help mitigate these risks.  That is why we ask the right questions up-front so that you can then make purchasing decisions that make the most sense for you.  For example, before we decide to bring a piece of equipment into our inventory, we need to determine if the machine is going to be attractive to potential buyers.  Some of the questions we want to address are:

  • What is the detailed configuration?  What options are included? What rev levels are the important cards in the system?
  • What upgrades might be needed, and what will they cost?
  • How much will it cost the new end-user to re-license the software in order to have support from the OEM?
  • What is the vintage and/or serial number?
  • Is the system still powered, and can it be inspected?
  • If not powered, does the owner have a diagnostics report and/or a de-installation showing it was passing diagnostics when it was powered down?
  • Timing and availability?

Our goal is to build repeat customers, not sell you a piece of equipment that doesn’t make sense for you.  Give us a call and see what we mean.  Whether you are buying or selling, we’ll make sure that you can be confident that you are getting straight questions….and straight answers.  However, I am the last person help with your golf game.  I may know what to do…but I have no idea how to do it!

Greg Wendell
Account Manager