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Publication Date: 03/1/2012
Archive >  March 2012 Issue >  Electronic Mfg. Services > 

Aimtron: Growing at Home and Overseas
Production line in India is identical to the one in Illinois.

Aimtron is really two companies — a high-level manufacturing facility in America's Midwest, complete with ITAR registration, and a rapidly expanding production facility in India. In between the two, there is a PCB manufacturing facility in China. The Streamwood, Illinois plant is not only the company's headquarters, it has been garnering the company's all-important military and medical business, and is currently installing a second full SMT production line.

Located in a region traditionally underserved by contract electronics manufacturing, Aimtron India located in Vadodara (Gujarat) India, is very well positioned to capture much of the expected explosive growth in its region.

Aimtron India has been jump-started largely due to such anchor clients as Matrix, Enercon, and ABB. Although the facility started up in 2010, today, it regularly operates with two shifts, and must plan to double or triple its output capacity very soon. This huge quantity of work is from a local customer base in India, concentrated in state of Gujarat. "We are very happy that Aimtron started a facility in our backyard with American level of quality", said Yogesh Sharma from Matrix. Similar comments were made by Harish Iyer from Enercon, India's second largest windmill company. Overall planning must also include accommodating several projects that are transitioning from Aimtron USA to its India plant.

Knowledge Exchange
Aimtron's factory on the subcontinent is in a growing area. Much of the work force was recruited locally and trained from the ground up. This provides an advantage in establishing tried-and-true practices coming directly from the USA facility, rather than trying to re-train or drive out bad habits learned in factories with less stringent guidelines. The capital equipment is brand new, as is the training in its operation. Aimtron negotiated up to one month on-site training to help it build a work force specifically suited to its equipment set. Coupled with good regional support for its machines, Aimtron India is well on its way to becoming a regional center of excellence in for electronics manufacturing.

"Our business philosophy is exactly the same for both facilities," Aimtron's Founder and CEO Mukesh Vasani said. "We invest in people. We develop leaders. The results speak for themselves."

Train the Trainers
In addition to regular trips made by the company's CEO, employees from all levels travel to the India plant on a regular basis. Since inception, several employees went overseas to train the Vadodara staff in areas such as RFQ, inventory control, MRP system records, and statistical quality control based on ISO requirements. Scheduled for Late February 2012 of this year, Aimtron's Director of Engineering, Jason Duerr, will be traveling to India to implement several new infrastructure projects, including online documentation, and work instructions.

The company is manufacturing to IPC Class II and Class III standards. One of its luxuries is the fact that it builds the same assemblies over and over in large numbers. Management's goal is to bring more of NPI (new Product Introduction) approach, so the India plant can just as easily handle prototype and mixed volume production.

"Overall, I am very proud of the staff, and what they have accomplished to date. Now it is time to push forward and bring us to the next level," said Managing Director Dhaval Vasani.

A Clone Away from Home
Today's market demands are for all-inclusive service, starting with BGA placement, X-Ray capabilities, to follow-through activities such as conformal coating, potting, and test development. Aimtron's Chicagoland facility offers all of these full inclusive services. The goal is to offer exactly the same list of capabilities, process controls, and quality management systems, all at offshore pricing. Aimtron India is proving to be well on its way to achieving this goal.

Currently, Aimtron India offers state-of-the-art surface mount placement machines, with no size restrictions on part size or density. Even advanced small-scale BGA devices are regularly serviced with excellent accuracy. Automated Optical Inspection is performed by exactly the same equipment models as used in the Chicago facility, which allows the plant to support its offshore facility and review data. Other processes, such as selective and wave solder, are also offered. A full functional test department is currently in development.

As the Vadodara area has been historically underserved by contract electronics manufacturing, Aimtron is putting the message out: "We are here, open for business, and ready to serve your needs."

Quality Management System
Aimtron's Streamwood, IL Headquarters continues to expand its Quality Management System and Registrations. After quickly achieving ISO 13485, Aimtron continued listening to customer requirements. ITAR was recently harmonized into the QMS with instant positive results.

The company had a mix of current customers holding back ITAR-related work, along with new client prospects who were eager to do business. Once the company had ITAR in place, it was greeted with a flood of both RFQs and new orders.

?Recently, outside auditors performed an analysis of the company's current ISO13485 quality management system, with an eye towards pending AS9100 certification. The results were very favorable. In many specific areas, Aimtron's current QMS goes above and beyond the AS9100 standard. In anticipation of a growing market base, Aimtron is launching a pilot program with respect to TS 16949, due to begin just after AS9100 registration,? said Mr. John Fagerson, Quality Manager.

International Pricing
"Currently, Aimtron's domestic facility has a customer base requiring 95 percent domestic build for domestic clients, with approximately 5 percent offshore sourcing for domestic clients. In the near future, we would like to see the numbers move to 75 percent domestic sourced, 25 percent offshore sourced for our domestic clients," said Operation Manager, Mr. Larry Whitis.

Many clients make purchasing decisions based on the per unit price coming out of China. What happens if something goes wrong? The cost of an additional shipping cycle back to the Far East can easily cripple a project's budget. Finding local sources of rework can be just as costly. Not to mention overall impact to production and release schedules.

Aimtron hopes to leverage its offshore facility's pricing with local support. Purchase orders for international builds have an FOB point here in the United States. A mirrored quality management system ensures builds are correct the first time. added to that, any errors can be serviced at far less cost for all parties.

Commitment and Partnership
It can take years to develop a good customer. Aimtron has proven its commitment to customers by responding to their outsourcing requirements and anticipating the next generation of client needs, while remaining financially strong, flexible and lean.

Contact: Aimtron Corporation, 1448 Yorkshire Drive, Streamwood, IL 60107 630-372-7500 (Arizona) 480-231-2882 E-mail: Web:

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