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    [title] => Firstronic LLC Adds Selective Solder Capability
    [short_title] => Firstronic Adds Selective Solder Capability
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    [body] => Firstronic LLC today announced that it has added an ERSA Versaflow 40/50 dual pot selective solder machine. The addition has both “green” advantages and adds capability.

“Initially we purchased the machine to support a project that had a requirement to connect a printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) with a through-hole connector in a recessed plastic enclosure. That design would have been difficult to process using our standard solder wave. However, as we looked at the capabilities this equipment provides we decided to increase the range of projects we use it for,” said Maurice Hellebuyck, Firstronic’s engineering manager. “It solves an issue that many regional electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers face: dropping demand for mixed technology processing.”

The challenge is the operating cost and limited flexibility of traditional wave solder equipment. Firstronic’s standard wave solder has a 1500 lb. solder bath compared with two 25-lb. solder pots on the selective solder machine. Hellebuyck pointed out that smaller quantities of solder reduce the time and utility consumption needed to bring the solder to the right temperature, and makes cleaning and dross disposal safer and faster. Additionally, the standard wave solder has a 16-foot tunnel that is filled with nitrogen to create an inert atmosphere for better solder joint quality. Comparatively, the selective solder machine uses an air tight collar filled with nitrogen around the point being soldered.

There are also advantages in processing. When going over a traditional wave of solder, the PCBA and components must be oriented with an optimum approach angle to reduce solder bridging. While some wave solder pallets have been designed with circular inserts to allow a great deal of flexibility in angle of approach, that tooling is costly. Selective solder keeps the PCBA stationary and moves the solder pot and nozzle so the process is less constrained by PCBA design. Its pumps shut off instantaneously, so solder is drawn away from the last couple of leads, minimizing the opportunity for bridge creation. Interchangeable nozzles allow variation in the amount of solder deposited and it is fast to program, translating to quick changeovers and minimized rework and touch-up. The dual pot system can be used with two lead-free pots or with a leaded and lead-free pot, depending on requirements. The machine is equipped with vision and the actual solder joint creation process can be viewed on an adjacent monitor. This allows for fast root cause identification if defects develop.

“Wave solder has never been a capacity constraint at Firstronic because many of our PCBAs are SMT-only. From a through-hole perspective, we traditionally see electrolytic capacitors and connectors, but otherwise even mixed technology PCBAs are SMT,” added Hellebuyck.  “While we will continue to maintain our traditional wave solder equipment for higher volume requirements, we see value in downsizing our approach to the soldering process on projects with lower volume through-hole requirements. This is just one more way we are looking to work smarter and save our customers money.”
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The addition has both “green” advantages and adds capability.

“Initially we purchased the machine to support a project that had a requirement to connect a printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) with a through-hole connector in a recessed plastic enclosure. That design would have been difficult to process using our standard solder wave. However, as we looked at the capabilities this equipment provides we decided to increase the range of projects we use it for,” said Maurice Hellebuyck, Firstronic’s engineering manager. “It solves an issue that many regional electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers face: dropping demand for mixed technology processing.”

The challenge is the operating cost and limited flexibility of traditional wave solder equipment. Firstronic’s standard wave solder has a 1500 lb. solder bath compared with two 25-lb. solder pots on the selective solder machine. Hellebuyck pointed out that smaller quantities of solder reduce the time and utility consumption needed to bring the solder to the right temperature, and makes cleaning and dross disposal safer and faster. Additionally, the standard wave solder has a 16-foot tunnel that is filled with nitrogen to create an inert atmosphere for better solder joint quality. Comparatively, the selective solder machine uses an air tight collar filled with nitrogen around the point being soldered.

There are also advantages in processing. When going over a traditional wave of solder, the PCBA and components must be oriented with an optimum approach angle to reduce solder bridging. While some wave solder pallets have been designed with circular inserts to allow a great deal of flexibility in angle of approach, that tooling is costly. Selective solder keeps the PCBA stationary and moves the solder pot and nozzle so the process is less constrained by PCBA design. Its pumps shut off instantaneously, so solder is drawn away from the last couple of leads, minimizing the opportunity for bridge creation. Interchangeable nozzles allow variation in the amount of solder deposited and it is fast to program, translating to quick changeovers and minimized rework and touch-up. The dual pot system can be used with two lead-free pots or with a leaded and lead-free pot, depending on requirements. The machine is equipped with vision and the actual solder joint creation process can be viewed on an adjacent monitor. This allows for fast root cause identification if defects develop.

“Wave solder has never been a capacity constraint at Firstronic because many of our PCBAs are SMT-only. From a through-hole perspective, we traditionally see electrolytic capacitors and connectors, but otherwise even mixed technology PCBAs are SMT,” added Hellebuyck.  “While we will continue to maintain our traditional wave solder equipment for higher volume requirements, we see value in downsizing our approach to the soldering process on projects with lower volume through-hole requirements. This is just one more way we are looking to work smarter and save our customers money.”
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“We see a strong systems approach as critical to maintaining competitiveness in the electronics manufacturing services (EMS) industry. That is why our team developed our ProManage software which automates many common tasks, and why we’ve now enhanced that with a cloud-based ERP system. This combination allows us to provide our customers with some of the best visibility into real-time project status in the industry,” said John Sammut, Firstronic CEO.

In 2011, Plex Systems, Inc. won a number of awards including the Software and Information Industry Association’s Best Operations Management Solution Supercategory, Best Business Competitive Intelligence Solution and a EuroCloud Germany Award for Best Case Study of Use.

Firstronic’s team completed installation in only four months, compared to more typical implementation cycle times of 12 months.

“I am exceptionally pleased with the speed at which our team has completed this implementation. The expertise and shared vision carried over from the ProManage development helped saved time in this effort. We are now well positioned to support several new projects scheduled to launch in the remainder of this year,” Sammut added.

The Plex implementation includes an ERP system, manufacturing execution system (MES) module, EDI customer and supplier interfaces, and online quality data collection/reporting tools.  Since Plex is cloud-based, Firstronic and customer personnel will be able to access Plex information remotely.

Additionally, Firstronic’s proprietary ProManage software integrates with Plex. The Plex/ProManage IT synergy provides a significant advantage: the ability to provide exceptional levels of responsiveness and project visibility with minimal overhead resources. Once a project is loaded into the system, the project team gains a 24/7 virtual assistant. The ProManage system acts as a “force multiplier” by tracking critical tasks and notifying members of the project team as soon as a  timeline begins to slip, and escalates if the slippage isn’t immediately addressed. It also serves as a centralized database for all project activities, supporting both traceability and product history recordkeeping.
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“Initially we purchased the machine to support a project that had a requirement to connect a printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) with a through-hole connector in a recessed plastic enclosure. That design would have been difficult to process using our standard solder wave. However, as we looked at the capabilities this equipment provides we decided to increase the range of projects we use it for,” said Maurice Hellebuyck, Firstronic’s engineering manager. “It solves an issue that many regional electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers face: dropping demand for mixed technology processing.”

The challenge is the operating cost and limited flexibility of traditional wave solder equipment. Firstronic’s standard wave solder has a 1500 lb. solder bath compared with two 25-lb. solder pots on the selective solder machine. Hellebuyck pointed out that smaller quantities of solder reduce the time and utility consumption needed to bring the solder to the right temperature, and makes cleaning and dross disposal safer and faster. Additionally, the standard wave solder has a 16-foot tunnel that is filled with nitrogen to create an inert atmosphere for better solder joint quality. Comparatively, the selective solder machine uses an air tight collar filled with nitrogen around the point being soldered.

There are also advantages in processing. When going over a traditional wave of solder, the PCBA and components must be oriented with an optimum approach angle to reduce solder bridging. While some wave solder pallets have been designed with circular inserts to allow a great deal of flexibility in angle of approach, that tooling is costly. Selective solder keeps the PCBA stationary and moves the solder pot and nozzle so the process is less constrained by PCBA design. Its pumps shut off instantaneously, so solder is drawn away from the last couple of leads, minimizing the opportunity for bridge creation. Interchangeable nozzles allow variation in the amount of solder deposited and it is fast to program, translating to quick changeovers and minimized rework and touch-up. The dual pot system can be used with two lead-free pots or with a leaded and lead-free pot, depending on requirements. The machine is equipped with vision and the actual solder joint creation process can be viewed on an adjacent monitor. This allows for fast root cause identification if defects develop.

“Wave solder has never been a capacity constraint at Firstronic because many of our PCBAs are SMT-only. From a through-hole perspective, we traditionally see electrolytic capacitors and connectors, but otherwise even mixed technology PCBAs are SMT,” added Hellebuyck.  “While we will continue to maintain our traditional wave solder equipment for higher volume requirements, we see value in downsizing our approach to the soldering process on projects with lower volume through-hole requirements. This is just one more way we are looking to work smarter and save our customers money.”
[views] => 752 [published] => 1 [status] => 3 [priority] => 0 [publish_date] => 2012-07-31 22:56:41 [updated_at] => 2012-07-31 22:56:41 [last_updated_author] => 143497 [uploaded_by] => 0 [user_role_id] => 0 [custom_fields] => [custom_fields_old] => [splitcontent] => 1 [content_url] => [related_content_ids] => ["236789","236712","236654","143256","129066","129048","126990","122795","122481","113613","66080","51546","41248","39622","32516"] [is_show_company_name] => [created_at] => 2019-04-09 04:36:23 ) [2] => Content Object ( [className] => Content [contentLinks] => Array ( ) [belongsTo] => [contentIssue] => [id] => 69282 [pageNumber] => [offset] => [totalPages] => [last_query] => [last_sql] => [show_errors] => 1 [databaseServer] => Array ( [key] => master [host] => 172.24.16.232 [user] => rodpub_beta [pass] => MvQQzhse92k58yA [db] => rodpub_beta ) [tableName] => contents [content_type_id] => 2565 [resource_id] => 19 [author_id] => 0 [primary_issue_slug] => [author_name] => {"name":"","title":""} [magazine_id] => 6 [layout_id] => 0 [primary_image] => 0 [primary_image_old] => 0 [slider_image_id] => [banner_image] => 0 [title] => Firstronic LLC and Flight Systems Electronics Group Form Strategic Alliance [short_title] => Firstronic LLC and Flight Systems Electronics Group Form Strategic Alliance [summary] => [slug] => firstronic-llc-and-flight-systems-electronics-grou-706516 [body] => Firstronic LLC today announced that it has formed a strategic alliance with electronics remanufacturing firm, Flight Systems Electronics Group (FSEG). Under the agreement, the two companies will jointly market their respective services to customers requiring manufacturing and remanufacturing service and warranty support.

Under that model, Firstronic would continue to develop standard electronics manufacturing services (EMS) solutions for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) wishing to outsource production. Those with remanufacturing needs would be offered that service through FSEG. FSEG would continue to offer remanufacturing services, plus original build of “seed” stocks needed for warranty support when core stock was unavailable, while providing its customers access to standard EMS production capabilities through Firstronic.

“Our alliance with FSEG helps ensure that we are able to offer a comprehensive post-manufacturing solution to customers whose products have a long service life. Since remanufacturing gives new life to existing components, it provides customers with both a “green solution” and lowered spares inventory costs. FSEG’s combination of engineering, manufacturing and logistics expertise make it the ideal partner to include in our post-manufacturing support supply chain,” said John Sammut, Firstronic CEO.

“Joining forces with Firstronic is great step forward in the continuing development of Flight Systems’ remanufacturing capabilities,” said Mark DiGiampietro, FSEG president. “With our focus on service and aftermarket support, Firstronic is in an ideal position to help us further strengthen our business, while providing a full array of options to their customer base.

About Firstronic LLC
Firstronic LLC (www.firstronic.com) provides advanced electronics manufacturing services and optimized supply chain solutions for companies in a wide range of industries including automotive, industrial and medical device. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, Firstronic has a 35,000 square foot facility, state-of-the-art equipment and a seasoned management team with an average tenure of 20 years.

About Flight Systems Electronics Group
Headquartered in Lewisberry, PA, FSEG (www.fseg.net) remanufactures electronic components and modules for the medical equipment, personal mobility (electric and gas), automotive and commercial transportation industries. FSEG is a "green" company, promoting recycling efforts in the electronics industry through core management and reverse logistics. FSEG has a full array of contract manufacturing capabilities to supplement any core shortage and end of life component issues to better serve our customers with a full array of contract manufacturing services.
[views] => 1162 [published] => 1 [status] => 3 [priority] => 0 [publish_date] => 2012-05-11 04:33:28 [updated_at] => 2012-05-16 18:56:49 [last_updated_author] => 142077 [uploaded_by] => 0 [user_role_id] => 0 [custom_fields] => [custom_fields_old] => [splitcontent] => 1 [content_url] => [related_content_ids] => ["238355","228730","215845","201152","195049","143256","129066","129048","126990","122795","39948","28541","28464"] [is_show_company_name] => [created_at] => 2019-04-09 04:36:23 ) [3] => Content Object ( [className] => Content [contentLinks] => Array ( ) [belongsTo] => [contentIssue] => [id] => 69022 [pageNumber] => [offset] => [totalPages] => [last_query] => [last_sql] => [show_errors] => 1 [databaseServer] => Array ( [key] => master [host] => 172.24.16.232 [user] => rodpub_beta [pass] => MvQQzhse92k58yA [db] => rodpub_beta ) [tableName] => contents [content_type_id] => 2565 [resource_id] => 19 [author_id] => 0 [primary_issue_slug] => [author_name] => {"name":"","title":""} [magazine_id] => 6 [layout_id] => 0 [primary_image] => 0 [primary_image_old] => 0 [slider_image_id] => [banner_image] => 0 [title] => Firstronic LLC and DornerWorks Ltd. Form Strategic Alliance [short_title] => Firstronic LLC and DornerWorks Ltd. Form Strategic Alliance [summary] => [slug] => firstronic-llc-and-dornerworks-ltd-form-strategic- [body] => Firstronic LLC today announced that it has formed a strategic alliance with design firm DornerWorks, Ltd. Under the agreement, the two companies will jointly market their respective services to customers requiring design and manufacturing support.

“Truly supporting the full product lifecycle is a challenge for most regional EMS providers because customers’ varying product development support needs make it difficult and costly to maintain that level of engineering support staff. DornerWorks has a team of 80 hardware and software engineers. We’ve already teamed on several projects and saw a formal alliance as the best next step to better serve our respective customer bases. This relationship ensures that our customers have access to a full product development team, plus the manufacturing engineering expertise already present at Firstronic,” said John Sammut, Firstronic CEO.

“There are many circumstances where our customers require a full turnkey solution for their engineering needs, including both design and manufacturing. We value the partnership we have with Firstronic because it allows the presentation of this capability into our market space. DornerWorks is very strong in the engineering design, but it has never been our goal to develop production or manufacturing capabilities. Firstronic brings to the forefront a very capable manufacturing and production capability located in our own backyard. I am thrilled to see this relationship become even stronger through our new formal strategic alliance,” said David Dorner, DornerWorks president.

About Firstronic LLC
Firstronic LLC (www.firstronic.com) provides advanced electronics manufacturing services and optimized supply chain solutions for companies in a wide range of industries including automotive, industrial and medical device. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, Firstronic has a 35,000 square foot facility, state-of-the-art equipment and a seasoned management team with an average tenure of 20 years.

About DornerWorks, Ltd.
DornerWorks (www.dornerworks.com) offers the highest level of software and electronic design capability to the aerospace, medical device, automotive, and industrial markets. Their knowledge of both software and hardware makes them particularly good at board support packages, RTOS integration, single board computers, and all forms of low-level embedded work. From board design through compliance testing, from software requirements through V&V, DornerWorks not only provides quality designs but also provides the artifacts needed for the FDA, FAA, and their clients' compliance requirements. The goal with each project is to make sure it reaches the market on time and on budget. [views] => 1217 [published] => 1 [status] => 3 [priority] => 0 [publish_date] => 2012-04-27 17:47:52 [updated_at] => 2012-05-03 14:58:39 [last_updated_author] => 142077 [uploaded_by] => 0 [user_role_id] => 0 [custom_fields] => [custom_fields_old] => [splitcontent] => 1 [content_url] => [related_content_ids] => ["248429","248022","247996","247982","247973","143256","129066","129048","126990","122795","28685"] [is_show_company_name] => [created_at] => 2019-04-09 04:36:23 ) [4] => Content Object ( [className] => Content [contentLinks] => Array ( ) [belongsTo] => [contentIssue] => [id] => 65039 [pageNumber] => [offset] => [totalPages] => [last_query] => [last_sql] => [show_errors] => 1 [databaseServer] => Array ( [key] => master [host] => 172.24.16.232 [user] => rodpub_beta [pass] => MvQQzhse92k58yA [db] => rodpub_beta ) [tableName] => contents [content_type_id] => 2565 [resource_id] => 19 [author_id] => 0 [primary_issue_slug] => [author_name] => {"name":"","title":""} [magazine_id] => 6 [layout_id] => 0 [primary_image] => 0 [primary_image_old] => 0 [slider_image_id] => [banner_image] => 0 [title] => Firstronic Enhances ERP Capabilities [short_title] => Firstronic Enhances ERP Capabilities [summary] => [slug] => firstronic-enhances-erp-capabilities-867200 [body] => Grand Rapids, MI--Firstronic LLC has enhanced its enterprise resource planning (ERP) capabilities with the addition of Plex, a software as a service (SAAS), cloud-based ERP system. The new system is scheduled to go live in June 2012.

“After evaluating several options, we decided on Plex online software for four reasons. First, it is scalable and easy to grow with the company. Second, it is highly configurable, allowing easy interface with our proprietary ProManage project management system. Third, it was originally developed to support the rigorous demands of the automotive industry and as a result is attractive to customers with complex data collection needs. Finally, because it is cloud-based, it allows us to provide our customers with real-time access to quality data, project status and material status via an internet connection, “ said John Sammut, Firstronic CEO.

While Plex is being used by several large electronics manufacturing services (EMS) firms, Firstronic’s implementation of the software will be somewhat unique due to the Company’s existing ProManage software system. Firstronic’s team created ProManage so that the Company could have a project management system customized to EMS. The ProManage system acts as a “force multiplier” by tracking critical tasks and notifying members of the project team whenever a timeline is slipping. It is also a centralized database for all project activities, supporting both traceability and product history recordkeeping.

“Because our team literally created our ProManage project management system, they are approaching the Plex implementation as process experts who understand exactly what they want the new ERP system to support. This is critical given the over 50% growth rates for 2012 and 2013 that our current bookings are driving. I have confidence that the team that created ProManage and has extensive experience in complex ERP implementations including SAP and DBA, can meet our aggressive four-month implementation timeline on Plex,” added Sammut.

The Plex implementation will include the ERP system, manufacturing execution system (MES) module, EDI customer and supplier interfaces, and online quality data collection/reporting tools.  In addition to enhancing customer access to real-time project data, the new system will also reduce transaction costs within the supply chain by supporting a two-bin kanban system with suppliers.

Firstronic LLC provides advanced electronics manufacturing services and optimized supply chain solutions for the electronics industry. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, Firstronic has a 35,000 square foot facility, state-of-the-art equipment and a seasoned management team with an average tenure of 20 years.
[views] => 1175 [published] => 1 [status] => 3 [priority] => 0 [publish_date] => 2012-02-24 00:30:02 [updated_at] => 2012-02-29 19:07:49 [last_updated_author] => 142077 [uploaded_by] => 0 [user_role_id] => 0 [custom_fields] => [custom_fields_old] => [splitcontent] => 1 [content_url] => [related_content_ids] => ["238355","228730","215845","201152","195049","143256","129066","129048","126990","122795","72308","28981"] [is_show_company_name] => [created_at] => 2019-04-09 04:36:23 ) [5] => Content Object ( [className] => Content [contentLinks] => Array ( ) [belongsTo] => [contentIssue] => [id] => 63001 [pageNumber] => [offset] => [totalPages] => [last_query] => [last_sql] => [show_errors] => 1 [databaseServer] => Array ( [key] => master [host] => 172.24.16.232 [user] => rodpub_beta [pass] => MvQQzhse92k58yA [db] => rodpub_beta ) [tableName] => contents [content_type_id] => 2565 [resource_id] => 19 [author_id] => 0 [primary_issue_slug] => [author_name] => {"name":"","title":""} [magazine_id] => 6 [layout_id] => 0 [primary_image] => 0 [primary_image_old] => 0 [slider_image_id] => [banner_image] => 0 [title] => Firstronic Adds Equipment to Support Expanding Customer Requirements [short_title] => Firstronics Adds Equipment [summary] => [slug] => firstronic-adds-equipment-to-support-expanding-cus-938110 [body] =>

Grand Rapids, MI--Firstronic LLC has expanded test, inspection and conformal coating capabilities to support increased revenue and project complexity.

“Based on current bookings, we anticipate a 50% revenue increase in 2012. Our equipment additions will improve throughput and overall efficiency, plus give us needed additional capacity,” said John Sammut, Firstronic CEO.

The new equipment includes a Teradyne ICT platform, an Orpro-Vision automated optical inspection (AOI) machine and a PVA automated conformal coat machine/UV cure oven.
The ICT platform’s ability to support higher node count will enhance the Company’s ability to test the more compact, higher complexity boards and panels found in its automotive and industrial customer base. It also has better fault coverage and more efficient low voltage testing. On-board flash programming capability supports Firstronic’s

Lean manufacturing philosophy by enabling test and programming to be completed in a single production step. Its footprint is 52% smaller than older ICT testers, which is also an asset in a Lean environment. Because it operates in a Windows environment, real-time test data can be easily shared via a customer portal.

The inline AOI equipment improves both capability and capacity with a better resolution camera which supports the trends in component miniaturization found in most of the Company’s projects. An older AOI unit has been retrofitted with a higher resolution camera, as well. A laser pointer system, immediately identifies potential defects which improves throughput.

The new conformal coating equipment is configured with an atomized spray head and two needle heads. This increases flexibility and throughput. The UV oven enhancement allows products coated with UV materials to be immediately cured.

“Our automotive customers want zero defects. Achieving that goal requires tight process control and minimal rework. The test and inspection equipment additions allow us to meet those goals, plus support all our customers’ increasingly complex requirements, while enhancing overall throughput. Automotive customers are also requiring more conformal coating and look for that as an in-house capability, rather than a subcontracted operation,” Sammut added.

Firstronic has established a new banking relationship with United Bank in Grand Rapids, Michigan which includes an extensive working capital line of credit to fund the Company’s rapid growth and the equipment additions are the first step in a longer term strategy to enhance technical capabilities while growing the Company both organically and via acquisition.
   
Firstronic LLC provides advanced electronics manufacturing services and optimized supply chain solutions for the electronics industry. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, Firstronic has a 35,000 square foot facility, state-of-the-art equipment and a seasoned management team with an average tenure of 20 years.
 

[views] => 806 [published] => 1 [status] => 3 [priority] => 0 [publish_date] => 2012-01-16 23:37:13 [updated_at] => 2012-01-16 23:52:25 [last_updated_author] => 143497 [uploaded_by] => 0 [user_role_id] => 0 [custom_fields] => [custom_fields_old] => [splitcontent] => 1 [content_url] => [related_content_ids] => ["236894","217265","188945","187870","161158","143256","129066","129048","126990","122795"] [is_show_company_name] => [created_at] => 2019-04-09 04:36:23 ) ) [contentType] => ContentType Object ( [className] => ContentType [content] => Array ( ) [taxonomy] => Array ( ) [listURL] => [logoUrl] => https: [id] => 2565 [pageNumber] => [offset] => [totalPages] => [last_query] => [last_sql] => [show_errors] => 1 [databaseServer] => Array ( [key] => master [host] => 172.24.16.232 [user] => rodpub_beta [pass] => MvQQzhse92k58yA [db] => rodpub_beta ) [tableName] => content_types [tag] => Services [short_tag] => services [class_name] => ServiceRelease [display_view] => [list_view] => [slug] => press-service-releases [box_view] => [ignore_flag] => 0 [image_id] => 0 [meta_information] => {"keywords":"","description":"Information submitted directly by medtech manufacturers."} ) [fileUploads] => Array ( ) ) yes