Essegi System Service Srl, the Italian storage solutions firm, has entered into a new partnership with NMTronics India Pvt Ltd to boost its presence across India. In a conversation with Baishakhi Dutta, senior business journalist, Electronics Bazaar, Moreno Giannotti, sales area manager, Essegi System Service Srl, talks about this partnership and how the optimal use of storage cabinets can boost electronics manufacturing in India.
EB: Tell us about your domain of work and what products you deal with.
Essegi System Service originally started more than 20 years ago as an EMS company in the north of Italy. While operating the manufacturing plant, we were experiencing the very same problems of any other EMS firm and OEM—material mismanagement, lack of traceability, human error, and issues with MSL (moisture sensitivity level); therefore, the lines were stopping and the space in the warehouse was not optimised. It was in these circumstances that we started to develop a product to solve all these issues. Today, ‘storage solutions’ is a well-established division, with nearly 15 years of experience in developing material-handling solutions and distributing storage systems all over the world. Our product portfolio offers a variety of automatic towers, Industry 4.0 ready solutions that are compatible with any ERP and MES (manufacturing execution systems) software pick and place brand, and much more. This allows NMTronics to approach customers working with any type of equipment and material flow.
EB: What is the general technology trend in this segment?
We are setting the trend! While there are many competitive brands, and everybody is trying to jump in, our made-in-Italy Industry 4.0 technology provides the fastest material management system in the market, with the lowest price per reel. The ISM towers can work as the main warehouse or as a buffer in the production area to feed the pick and place lines. While most of our competitors can handle SMD material only, we can store reels of several dimensions —THT material, JEDECs, bags, tubes, boards, and anything else with a maximum dimension of up to 88mm (15”).
EB: What are the technical USPs of your products?
There are many unique features; for example, the machine can prepare/receive up to 27 cases at once, with no operator standing by. This is thanks to the multiple outlets and the patterned cases. We have a storage capacity higher than 3600 reels in a single machine, in a footprint smaller than 3.7m2, and with an extension module we can reach the extraordinary capacity of 7500 reels in less than 8m2.
All the material that gets into the tower is analysed through a camera—this is not a scanner, but a high-resolution device which takes pictures that can be stored in the database to take traceability and quality standards to a higher level. Moreover, along with the storage cabinets, we make the incoming material stations, which are a solution for the registration of new components. When new material is received, the operator can place it on a table, where a camera reads the supplier’s label. Our software reads the information, saves the picture, sends all the details to the ERP and automatically creates a unique ID —all in about two seconds. Finally, we are ready and compatible with automated guided vehicles or AGVs—these intelligent vehicles are capable of loading and unloading the towers, bringing material from the incoming area to the warehouse, and from the warehouse to the production line, with no need for human intervention. In simple words, our products create automated factories.
EB: How do you view India as a market for your products?
India looks very promising in the near future. Due to the investments being made by large corporates and the growing local facilities, we are witnessing a big commitment to manufacturing in the country. All the factories here are using a very good level of technology and operators are increasing their specialisation levels.
We believe that the next step for Indian industries is storage cabinets because the assembly lines are now fast and people are well trained, but the warehouse is still a problem. It’s a worldwide problem. An ISM (intelligent storage management) system solves a lot of issues and will boost Indian production to a level not seen before.
EB: Do you have any plans to set up a proper plant or a business unit in India?
Nowadays, our collaborations are mainly through distributors, and NMTronics is our direct partner. So what we do is come here, train each other, and work together. If you are speaking about investments in terms of bringing what we have in Italy here (by setting up a factory), then that is not part of our plans yet. But if you are speaking about putting our energies into customer visits, training, educating engineers and bringing the knowhow to India, then yes, we are committed to doing that.
EB: How do you plan to train engineers in India?
When there are new improvements to our products, we send engineers to NMTronics, which has our machines in its showroom, or we invite them to our headquarters for training on the latest features. So the flowchart starts with an academic approach first, then practice, and then, on-field training. NMTronics also plays a relevant role in educating the market about the magnitude of the problems related to material handling, and the associated hidden costs.
EB: So NMTronics is your only Indian distributor now?
While we have a partnership worldwide with Juki, NMTronics is Essegi’s direct distributor in India. We don’t want to give our products to everybody, since that will not make sense; we want only specialised technicians to give the best service support. Today, NMTronics can reach any local customer, quickly. That’s what we want for our customers.
EB: What made you choose NMTronics as your distributor?
We selected NMTronics because it is the best choice for us. Generally, we look for the best distributor and then invest totally in that company. We also believe NMTronics has the best presence across the entire country—if there is any need, this distributor is there for our customers with the technical and software background to give assistance or simply answer questions. In all these aspects, NMTronics matches our standards. While we have been in contact with this distributor for a long time, the official collaboration started last year, and the opportunities are increasing quickly.
EB: How do you plan to promote automated machinery in India?
Everybody is talking about Industry 4.0 but very few know what it is all about. To fill this knowledge gap, Essegi has increased its participation at exhibitions, and is giving more demonstrations and running onsite evaluations. In fact, NMTronics uses our assembly machines to demonstrate to potential customers the advantages that storage cabinets and automation can bring to electronics manufacturing.
EB: What percentage of your annual global business does India contribute?
We began our partnership with NMTronics only last year, but there are high expectations from this country, which is a direct consequence of the many investors and the growth in electronics manufacturing.
EB: What are your business projections for the next five years?
We aim to become the market leader in India and to be the automatic storage reference for all the EMS firms and OEMs. We are confident that through the partnership with NMTronics, this goal is achievable.