HENGELO, OVERIJSSEL, NETHERLANDS -- European defense giant Thales has reentered the merchant PCB market, opening its shop here to outside customers.

Thales has owned the fabrication operations, which date to the 1960s, since 1990, when it was acquired by Thomson-CSF, the precusor to Thales. It uses the plant for internal PCB manufacturing development and to supplement the OEM's externals bare board suppliers. A company spokesman told local media that its procurement contracts with outside suppliers would not change, but that capacity was sufficient to begin supplying for external customers.

The shop specializes in lower volume, high-end fabrication, such as 10m flex circuits and mil-certified boards. (It has MIL- PRF-31032 and MIL-PRF-55110 certifications.) It also recently acquired a 3D printer.

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