The importance of design services has led to the foundation of more flexible and customized business models for electronics design providers. How these services will benefit customers? In an interaction with Baishakhi Dutta of the Electronicsforu.com, Suneel Kumar, managing director of Ajitek Tech Solutions Pvt Ltd, a leading embedded computer products offering company, provides the answer.
Q) Can you explain the business offerings that you’re providing to your customers?
In the Ajitek design house, we do the research and development for defence and aerospace sectors. We do VLSI designs for FPGA boards as per the customer requirements.
Q) Have you started the manufacturing process or about to do it?
We initially manufacture very less number of boards while doing R&D. Once it starts going to production, we outsource it to big manufacturing houses.
Our R&D facility has the capacity of doing PCB testing and soldering. We only assemble all the components and ICs onto the PCB. After assembling, we test the PCB in our office using various tools. Once all the quality testing have been done, such as EMI/EMC (electromagnetic interference/ electromagnetic compatibility) and proved good, then we give it to the production agencies.
Since 2016, we have also started the distribution of test and measurement equipment like oscilloscopes to the reputed companies. There is a separate wing, especially for such distribution activities.
Q) What is the payment model that you follow for your customers who want to engage with you as a business partner?
Our only requirement is to know where the product is going to be and how it will be because it is going into production. We do not accept general requests, but only those R&D projects which can go into production.
Q) When it comes to payments, is it a pre-payment model or post-payment model?
It’s a pre-payment model for non-government customers. For government customers, it is post-payment.
Q) As an expert, what would be the top 5 tips that you would like to give to the design engineers?
I would only advice them to learn from scratch. People coming into design engineering do not go in-depth to make a perfect one time design and hence do a lot of modifications in their research.
There should be a lot of calculations for the capacitors and resistors even for small board design. Instead of blindly making decisions, one should study well the exact requirements for the respective project.
Q) Do you think technical sales play an active role in design services?
Yes. It plays an important role in the innovation and designing of electronics. A management graduate coming from a non-science background can easily explain the sales aspect of the business.
Q) So going forward, what would be your strategy for expanding your customer base and market share?
My strategy is to reach most of the good design teams in India and reduce the importing of designs from other countries.
For this, we are not depending on social networking sites as many large organisations are not active there. It is when you go out and meet the customer, then only people will notice. Therefore, we opt for paper presentations, magazine deliveries and exhibitions to expand our market.
Q) How does your VLSI design service model work?
The flow of our VLSI Design Services as follows.
- Concept to complete product development FPGA based design
- Schematic entry based on customer inputs and selecting the right components
- PCB layout and fabrication
- Signal integrity and thermal analysis
- BBT test for bare PCB
- BSP, Driver Development
- Quality check
Q) Since you mentioned government and non-government customers, can you provide some case studies of your government clients?
We are working with government clients Like DRDO labs and SPACE labs. Earlier they were working with a microcontroller-based hold and release system with three 4U rack-mountable units for the Realtime application while launching the satellite.
We followed the same concept and designed with FPGA in a single board and the size is half of the space of one unit in the rack.
Q) Typically how long do you take to start a design and deliver a working prototype?
It takes around three weeks to start the design. We require this much time to understand the concept from the customer and their requirements. Once the BOM is finalized, the proto will be delivered within two months up to board level.
We will take 45 to 90 days for delivering the prototype based on the requirements. Recently we delivered a proto unit within three weeks. This depends on the requirement.
Q) How do you ensure quality control of your deliverables?
We have our internal quality control team who checks everything from the component to board. We will do BBT for the bare PCB and do all quality analysis before delivering the product.