Bengaluru, India: Chennai-based exporter of electronic products Syrma Technologies, part of the Tandon group of companies, has emerged as a dark horse in the Indian electronics manufacturing landscape and poised to take on the domestic market as well. Founded in 2006, Syrma Technologies, today, is a $60-million manufacturer and exporter of radio frequency identity (RFID) tags, magnetics coils, printed circuit boards assemblies (PCBAs), and box-built products for a wide range of applications. It also provides design-for-manufacturing (DFM) solutions to its customers. In the last decade alone, Syrma has successfully co-developed, manufactured, and shipped over 200 million product units for more than 100 reputed original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in over 50 countries.
After having established itself as a premier provider of electronics in the global market, it’s now targeting the domestic market with its recently launched fifth manufacturing plant at Bawal set up with an investment of over $10 million. “Our national portfolio was less than 10% but now it has moved up to around 20%. Not only is the domestic demand picking up but also overseas customers are setting up shop here. We add intelligence, bring in “smart-ness” to any device,” said Sreeram Srinivasan, CEO, Syrma Technologies told EETimes, India.
The company’s business is divided into two focus areas. One is built to print where Syrma produces products according to the customer’s exact specifications using correct materials and co-creation with customers for custom-designed boards and boxes with a combination of engineering services to startups as well as to mature companies. The other part focuses on the manufacture of high-frequency magnetic coils and RFID tags. Incidentally, it manufactures 3 million RFID tags per week for both global and domestic market. These are used by global companies for asset tracking, animal tracking, etc.
“We buy the bare PCBs from various sources and design the boards in India. Although, at present, most of our business is built to print, we do quite a bit of co-creation as well. Customers can walk in with just an idea or a concept of a product and ask us to develop a board that could add intelligence, say a smart feature, to their device to enable it to do certain functions,” Srinivasan explained.
Syrma also does a significant part of product realization for customers, where it adds finesse to the product. “A startup usually comes to us with a crude product. The founders would say they have a proof of concept, but have no clue as to how to manufacture it or make it saleable. So, we take up the project and give them the right choice of components to be used, their availability, their cost, and also show them ways to optimize costs, manufacturing, and to gauge the viability, all the parameters needed for the product’s success. Our design and engineering team supports customers from business case development to complete solution implementation,” he added.
The other type of customers would typically be mature and well established companies which have been running with 10-15 year old boxes. “Today, a fresh pair of eyes is needed to look at new designs that would ensure smaller real estate (smaller boards), better performance, longer shelf-life, and we try to bring in a new perspective,” he pointed out.
Syrma’s Key Differentiators
In India there are over 450 SMT machines and about 100 EMS companies in India and Syrma needs to differentiate its offering. “We don’t see ourselves as a pure-play EMS company. We go that extra mile for our customers rather than merely build parts for them. There isn’t much value in being a simple pure-play contract manufacturer. Basically, it’s the design input and engineering that keeps us in the game,” he added. Recently Syrma set up a repair and re-work center which it believes is critical for electronic companies.
“A lot of times when customers source boards from various suppliers or even overseas supplier, they land up with some failures in the field. India is a very brutal market for electronics. There’s misuse, abuse, and power fluctuation, heat and dust issues arising out of a typical tropical climate. Hence boards fail even if we import the highest quality from German. So, customers want them repaired or at least a failure analysis done; if you can fix it, nothing like it. “
Against this background, Syrma has set up an exclusive line where it can do a failure analysis on boards made by others and can repair them as well. It plans to bring its expertise built over a decade and gain a market share in this space. “We scrutinize the design and check out if there’s any scope for improvement in the design so that field returns can come down. That’s the way of gaining mind-share with customers. They may not be ready to buy bulk from us because there are global commitments and could be tied up with one vendor but they can give us boards for failure analysis and repair.
The company has two large electronics manufacturing units in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of Chennai, where it manufactures printed circuit board assemblies (board and box builds) and RFID tags. It has two other plants located in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra for manufacturing RFID tags, magnetic components, and electro-mechanicals. Its sales and marketing office is located in San Jose, California, USA.
— Sufia Tippu is a freelance tech journalist based in India contributing to EE Times India.
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