The evolution of surface mount technology (SMT) in the Indian manufacturing industry is now becoming more and more tangible. Any manufacturer who is involved in bulk production cannot expect to use through-hole technology as it is not only time-demanding, but also occupies a lot of space in the manufacturing unit. As the unprecedented growth in the consumer electronics, telecommunications, automotive and power segments rises even further, we can expect an increased demand of SMT devices in the country as well. In this issue, we are covering the market for surface mount components since any manufacturing unit, which employs SMT machines, will invariably require surface mount components also. The chief difference between through-hole and surface mount components is that of size and efficiency.
By Atanu Kumar Das
Monday, April 20, 2009: Over the past few years, electronic products, especially those which fall within the ambit of consumer electronics, have significantly depreciated in size and weight. Products such as cellular telephones, laptops, pagers, camcorders, etc, have been miniaturised by as much as three-fourth of their original introductory sizes and weights. The most significant contributing factor to this reduction has been the inclusion of fine pitch, surface mount components. The larger, thicker and heavier leaded through-hole packages consume far too much power, space and contribute significantly to the heavier built of the final product, an attribute undesirable in the current context.
S K Jain, MD and CEO, Sumitron Exports Pvt Ltd, says, “While through-hole mounting provides strong mechanical bonds in contrast to surface mount technology, the additional drilling required makes the boards more expensive to produce. It also limits the available routing area for signal traces on layers immediately below the top layer on multilayer boards since the holes must pass through all layers to the opposite side. To that end, through-hole mounting techniques are now usually reserved for bulkier components such as electrolytic capacitors or semiconductors in larger packages such as the TO220 that require additional mounting strength. The virtues of diminutive size, light weight, higher density and increased performance have propelled the usage of SMT components to a frequency much beyond that of through-hole.”
“Thanks to the large companies which have started manufacturing in India, it is apparent that the next couple of years will accentuate demand for SMT components significantly. It is only the smaller companies that continue to use through-hole components because setting up an SMT manufacturing unit is quite expensive. Manufacturers are willing to invest only when there is sufficient demand to justify such an expense,” comments a spokesperson from Advent Electronics, one of the leading distributors of electronic components in India.
According to R Sivaprasad, Siricom Technology, “The market for surface mount device (SMD) components is maturing as people are more educated now about the advantages of the same. Easy availability of a wide range of electronic components in SMD form makes designers use them freely in their designs. Many major electronics players across the globe are setting up design and production centres in India, owing to which, India is emerging as a major manufacturing services hub. The major segments which are contributing to the growth of the electronics market are that of automotive, electronic manufacturing services (EMS) and power.”
Govt support required
Most of the players we spoke to were concurrent in opining that India can never hope to become an electronics hardware manufacturing base unless we do not have a stable component manufacturing base in the country. Most distributors are importing surface mount components and at times availability becomes an issue for them. Moreover, all big manufacturing companies give preference to those players who have a local component manufacturing base.
“Our government should support those organisations which come up with innovative ideas to set up manufacturing plants for surface mount components. The import duty structure should be emended to foster the burgeoning demand of surface mount devices in India,” states Sivaprasad.
In order to provide a boost to the overall electronics industry, a number of policy measures have been taken by the Government of India. The electronics industry in India, with the exception of aerospace and defence electronics, is completely unlicensed. This has been instrumental in making the sector one of the fastest growing in India. The incline towards digitalisation, enabling convergence of technologies, is spearheaded by the developments in semiconductor technology.
“With the entire sector facing zero duty under the ITA-1 agreement, urgent steps need to be taken. The most essential and immediate short-term step to be taken by the government should be to accord special sector status to the electronic component industry, where all units should be granted EHTP status and domestic sales should be treated at par with exports. This should warrant that zero duties/taxes are applicable on all inputs, including dual-use items and finished components throughout the entire value chain, from raw materials to the finished product. It is also imperative that the foreign trade policy, as well as customs and excise procedures, are simplified and converted to a self-declaration system. The industry itself needs to respond actively to face this global challenge and take immediate steps to reduce cost and thereby, boost volume and strive for greater global visibility by participating in international events, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, etc. A far more aggressive stance needs to be adopted with respect to R&D,” adds Jain.
Now let us have a look at some of the companies in the surface mount components field in India.
Sumitron Exports Pvt Ltd: Sumitron Exports Pvt Ltd represents and supports some of the finest companies in India for their products (equipment, tools, materials and components) related to electronic manufacturing and repairs. It is an ISO 9001:2000 certified company and proffers reliable, efficient, unmatched services and backup provided by well-qualified and trained engineers. Some of the principals of Sumitron are EBSO Gmbh, Germany; NIC Components Asia Pte Ltd, Singapore; RCD Components, US; Rara Electronics Corporation, Korea and Winchester Electronics, US.
Siricom Technology: Siricom Technology is more than a decade old. Over the years, it has emerged into more of a service-based distributor than just being an electronic components distributor. For Siricom, it is not the number of sales that is important, it gives priority to the value-addition that it offers to its customers. Siricom helps organisations right from the design stage to the production level by offering world-class surface mount components from reputed manufacturers and suggesting various steps in cost-cutting. Siricom stocks a widespread array of SMD passives components like chip resistors, chip capacitors, chip tantalum caps, chip inductors, SMD power inductors, etc. It also imports SMD ICs and semiconductors lines. The company mainly imports from Taiwan and Hong Kong. It offers major brands like Walsin, Coil Master, Tuohm, NSK, Maxecho, NXP, Everlight, AVX, Kemet, Vishay, Panasonic, TDK, Taiyo-Yudenm, etc.
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