“We see high potential in solar and LED markets in India”

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Jay Kumar, COO, Asian market, Essemtec

A Swiss machine manufacturer, Essemtec AG, has been developing, manufacturing and marketing equipment and machines for all the processes in the electronics industry since 1991, including printers, dispensers, pick and place and soldering systems. In a conversation with Srabani Sen of Electronics Bazaar, Jay Kumar, Essemtec’s chief operating officer in the Asian market, talks about the company’s strategy and developmental roadmap in India. With 19 years’ experience in surface mount technology (SMT), Jay Kumar has the ideal qualifications to understand the needs of the Indian electronics market. This has helped him take the right decisions, at the right time.

EB: How has your journey been in India since 2007?

In 2007, we opened our first office in Bengaluru. Since then, we have sold more than 180 machines in India. In 2010, we opened a second office in Delhi. This was a very important step to further increase our market presence in the country. Our sales and service teams in India have also expanded. Essemtec India is, in fact, the interface between Switzerland and India. Our goal is to better understand and meet the needs of the local Indian electronics market and to provide tailored solutions.

EB: Please explain Essemtec’s developmental roadmap in India for 2011-12.

The Indian SMT market is growing fast. There has been a 40-50 per cent growth over the last few years, and we are expecting that this trend will continue. We will systematically continue to further expand our direct sales and service activities. Therefore, our mother company in Switzerland will keep providing us with enough resources to continue playing an important role in the Indian electronics market in the future.

EB: What are Essemtec’s technological contributions in the SMT domain?

We have always been technologically advanced in the market. Our recent contributions to the market are our new highly flexible pick and place machines—Paraquda and Cobra. Cobra is the first pick and place system that combines a high throughput of 20,000 cph with the flexibility of online feeder changeover, with an eight nozzle head, where each axis has a fully independent drive system and each nozzle can handle the full component range from 01005 chips up to 80 x 70 mm. It features the latest technologies such as linear motors, magnesium cooling bodies, carbon fibre parts and a mineral cast base.

Paraquda, on the other hand, is a new generation SMD pick and place machine with an extraordinary large feeder capacity (up to 240), designed for highly flexible SMT production with higher throughput. Drive technology, materials, vision system and software have been developed especially for this trendsetting machine.

Both the machines feature ePlace, the new user interface software developed by Essemtec that makes machine operation a real pleasure. ePlace also reduces the time that operators spend in training and programming because it avoids input errors.

Another high profile product is the Tucano. This automatic stencil printer is a new development implementing many concepts, experiences and features gained in high precision solar cell printing. Thus, Tucano turned into a best seller in just a few months’ time.

EB: Which verticals in India are you targeting in 2011-12 and why?

We see high potential in the solar business and are focusing on this vertical. Another growing sector that is important for us is the LED business. We have developed machines that can perfectly fit the demands of these markets.

EB: What is your marketing strategy in India?

Our main marketing strategy is to understand the requirements of the Indian customers and fulfil them with tailor made solutions. Therefore, our focus has been to offer local support with highly educated service engineers. In addition, Essemtec India has a marketing controller in Switzerland, who oversees the marketing activities.

The on-the-spot support system has many benefits. It significantly reduces the cost of machine servicing because we can react quickly to customer requests concerning maintenance or service. Machine downtime also decreases. In any case, our machines are known to work with little maintenance even under extreme environmental conditions such as high humidity. So, to begin with, maintenance costs with our products are low and can be further reduced with onsite service.

Finally, we have a wide product range, and we offer high quality products at reasonable prices. We have always been involved in projects with high future potential.

EB: Are you open to any collaborations/joint ventures in India?

Not at the moment. We have our direct offices in India. We are open to any new business contacts but we haven’t found anything that is appropriate yet.

EB: With Essemtec’s machine building knowhow, you are capable of building customised machines for your customers. Tell us about some of the specific customer applications that you can build equipment for.

More and more electronics manufacturers are required to economically dispense solder paste, isolating adhesives and placing LEDs on film substrates. Essemtec AG has developed a solution that can fulfil this growing need, both efficiently and precisely.

Based on Essemtec’s proven placement machine FLX2011 MKL, a concept with a three head system was designed. The head features a placement axis with an integrated component adjustment mechanism, as well as two independent axes with a piezo flow valve and a time pressure dispenser gear.

EB: Please describe your customer support system.

We offer local support, supervised by highly educated service engineers. Our service hotline is reachable 24/7.

EB: Where do you see the Indian SMT market five years down the line?

As already said, this is a growing market, and the requirement for good quality machines will increase. Essemtec can guarantee high quality and the latest technology for its machines. We specialise in customer solutions and, therefore, respond to market enquiries quickly.

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