“We give our customers the right product at the right cost”

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Bengaluru based Reliant EDS, a PCB design company, specialises in high speed PCB design, signal integrity analysis, and EMI–EMC analysis and simulation. Established in 2001 as a PCB design company, today it provides complete services in PCB layout, and PCB bare board fabrication and PCB assembly work. Probably the only PCB design services firm in India to offer layout work on CR5000, its SMT facility is located in the Industrial Model Township of Haryana. Aditya Chandra, director, Reliant EDS, talks to Abhishek Mutha of EFY about the challenges in PCB design, and his views on quality and reliability.

Aditya Chandra, director, Reliant EDS
EB: What kind of challenges do you face during manufacturing, as there are different requirements for different sectors?

PCB manufacturing has a lot of challenges. PCB design, fabrication and assembly may sound like three totally independent business units, but all of them are closely linked. A design house enables the inspection of any possible problems during the production process. For instance, it can check for the possibility of cross-talk between different signals that are going through the PCB. There can also be manufacturing issues like certain incorrect placements being done on the board. So, ultimately, once the board is manufactured, a good result is obtained and the finished product has a longer life. Hence, the manufacturing cost is low. These things help the customer because we are able to lower the cost, while increasing reliability and yields. So being an integrated company really helps the customer and us.

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EB: How do you improve the reliability in your manufacturing processes?

We focus on reliability right from the time the manufacturing of the board begins. During the assembly, we use the best of raw materials. In fact, we use solder paste from America which is approved by companies like Nokia, Lockheed Martin and all the major defence organisations. We follow strict guidelines related to the exposure time of the paste to the atmosphere and time lapse after it has been printed on the board, so that it can be used up in reflow.
We manage quality by the means of strictly defined processes and have an auditor at each level—a process is audited and signed for by an auditor, and only then does it move to the next stage. In case there is a problem in the product, we try to identify where the problem occurred and take corrective action. Having the complete documentation, and sharing it with customers and component manufacturers to find out where the problems are in order to come out with the right product, is what we believe in.

EB: What is your company’s USP?

Our company’s USP is giving the right product to the customer at the right time and right cost. For example, suppose we charge a customer an ‘X’ amount for a PCB kit. If another supplier charges lesser but also gives a lower yield, then the customer loses more money in the component cost, rather than the bare board and the assembly cost. Each board has to arrive at the right costing and has to be of the right quality the first time. Certain boards use more than 2000 components, and a small, accidental mistake in the placement of a component, can take as much as a month for the customer to debug. Through our processes, the customers have no problems as far as the bare board and the assembly are concerned.

EB: Could you give us an idea about how your industry is evolving with respect to technology?

Everything is getting miniaturised. Hence, things are becoming more complex, be it a cellphone or anything else. New components and technologies are coming up very frequently. The demands of the end customers are increasing. Reliability has to be high. So the machines we have in our company are the top of the line in the world, and are capable of handling loads for the next 8-10 years, even as we see the technology evolving further.

EB: How are these machines improving?

In pneumatic machines, everything moves on a belt. But there is no belt involved in electronic and magnetic machines. This means there is no elasticity (elasticity, here, means any physical component coming back to its own shape after any thermal stress or pressure is applied to it). When elasticity does not come into the picture, accuracy is available to the manufacturer over a long period of time. Also, earlier, people were working on 1 sigma and 3 sigma, but are now working on 6 sigma accuracy and micron levels.

EB: According to you, what are some typical customer requirements?

Sometimes, even the customers don’t know what their exact requirements are. For example, a customer may offer components that are RoHS compliant but might want to sell products in India without RoHS compliance. So we proceed with the non-RoHS process. But at the end of the day, if a component is RoHS compliant and a non-RoHS process is followed, then there is a total mismatch between the two. So interactions with the customer to sort out these kinds of issues are a must.

EB: What are your marketing strategies?

We focus more on customer attention. Ninety per cent of our business is repeat business. It’s not the question of us going out and selling our products; rather, it is the quality of our work that’s doing the marketing automatically. The risk involved in such kinds of work is huge. Today, if I am doing some work for my customer and I am doing it correctly, then there is absolutely no reason for my customer to shift to anybody else. In case you are not delivering to the customers, they will shift very quickly.

EB: According to you, what differentiates Reliant EDS from other companies in the PCB field?

Reliant is probably one of the very few companies in India that has been able to integrate PCB design, manufacturing and assembly under one roof. We use our knowhow in all the three spheres to ensure a high quality product is delivered to our clients.

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