Deepen customer relationships through production capacity

Working closely with customers throughout the engineering stages of an electronic design is an obvious part of the process for Titu Botos, CEO of NeuronicWorks. Until now, after operating strictly as a design house in Toronto, the company has boldly taken the next, most logical step towards deepening its relationship with the client. Earlier this year, the company added a fully integrated, turnkey custom box assembly service capable of providing timely prototyping services and full production runs.

NeuronicWorks is now able to complete projects from the initial design phase through prototyping, testing and certification, supply chain and inventory management, manufacturing, shipping and logistics and delivery to the end user. Since its inception, NeuronicWorks has focused solely on design, a process that Botos says can take months to a year depending on a given project.

NeuronicWorks President Titu Botos said his company’s next goal is to try to keep most if not all future customer designs in-house until the final product is shipped. Pictured, Botos (right) displays a client’s box build design with business development manager Alexander Hasmany. Source: Stephen Law, EP&T.

“We looked at our relationships with many customers. And close partnership is needed throughout the design process. But, ultimately, what happens next is the customer takes their Gerber files and goes to someone else to have it made, most often a contract manufacturer,” says Botos. “So we looked at what was needed to continue supporting our customers – throughout their journey. We have received a very good response from our existing clientele, as they appreciate that we can serve them longer. »

Keep customers engaged

Having moved into a larger facility last year, the production area spans 22,000 square feet, housing box assembly and SMT assembly services. The newly expanded facility with state-of-the-art equipment can accommodate much higher production runs, while providing the ability to handle larger, more complex projects seamlessly from one location. Production numbers and capacities vary between large and small projects.

“Obviously we can’t get involved in production requirements in the 10,000 to 50,000 range, however, it was only natural for us to tie something into the design that represents a logical next step in the process for our partners, our customers,” says Botos. . “Going forward, our team will only gain more experience and ultimately improve in these (production) processes. Our goal is to keep our customers engaged with us for longer.

Titu Botos describes NeuronicWorks as a design and manufacturing house, specializing in product development and in-house manufacturing. Source: Stephen Law, EP&T

With turnkey integrated services, NeuronicWorks now offers the ability to manage end-to-end design, prototyping, certification, pilot, high-volume and low-volume manufacturing, as well as inventory and production management. supply chain from one location. The vertical integration of design and manufacturing engineering services will shorten the NPD cycle, which will greatly increase the efficiency of the NPI.

“This addition represents the biggest leap of faith. The financial investment in this next step is a huge leap of faith,” Botos said.

Project turnaround time is highly dependent on the complexity of a given project, he says, adding that smaller, less complicated designs can be completed in three months, while larger, more complex projects can take up to nine to twelve months. Printed circuit board (PCB) creation will remain outsourced, but PCB assembly is now done on-site, using equipment recently acquired by the company, such as pick-and-place, paste application, AOI and X-ray inspection, curing oven, drying cabinets and an inventory system.

“Being driven by a steady demand for low-volume manufacturing support, we believe the next natural step in our growth as a company is to move into high-volume and low-volume manufacturing services that will complement our design services allowing us to serve a full spectrum of services,” says Botos. “With design engineering, prototyping, and manufacturing services delivered seamlessly under one roof, our customers enjoy benefits such as ‘seamless design transfer, increased productivity, high quality, reduced lead times and competitive prices. Our pcba and SMT production departments will produce state-of-the-art designs incorporating best-in-class manufacturing and testability standards enabling faster development cycles.

Box assembly

For some customers who fall into the high mix, low volume category, we can easily handle production runs of, say, 175 – and for some customers that’s all they need to be satisfied, due of the nature of their design. Depending on the complexity of any design, ultimately determines whether or not NeuronicWorks can adapt — before bringing in outside support from a CEM, according to Botos. For example, if the electronic device is the size of a cellphone, NeuronicWorks is equipped to produce 5,000 units per month, including box assembly, while continuing to entertain three or four separate customers at the same time. .

Source: Stephen Law, EP&T

The next step in the company’s evolution will include the adoption of a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The software platform will be used to manage day-to-day business activities such as accounting, purchasing, project management, risk management, compliance and supply chain operations. Ultimately, this will improve or streamline the customer experience, according to Botos.

“This ERP system will help us grow, as it will represent a complete integration of design and manufacturing, making everything much easier to track – from managing work orders, personnel, design changes,

In May of this year, NeuronicWorks obtained ISO for its design-to-production process, which opens the door to accepting more complex designs, according to Alexander Hasmany, B.Sc, director of business development at NeuronicWorks. One of the pillars or key design areas of NeuronicWorks has always been industrial automation/instrumentation and industrial controls. Other significant projects include designs in automotive, medical, wearable devices, consumer electronics, green energy and home automation.

“The design process becomes more transparent to our client as our facility now serves as a one-stop-shop and we take full responsibility for the complete design, from concept to prototype, testing, certifications and manufacturing,” says Hasmany. “The transparency of having everything under one roof makes us more agile and responsive to any issues that may arise during any design/manufacturing process,” he adds.

Among its additional services are product testing, which in many cases involves customizing the testing process for individual projects and customers, Hasmany says.

“If a customer wants us to test all 100 or 1,000 of their final designs before shipping, we have the capability to do that – to verify with a certification sticker on the final product,” he says.

While Botos recently extended the lease of its Toronto facility for at least another 15 years, NeuronicWorks also operates another design-only office located inside Catalyst137, an IoT-themed design center in Kitchener ON. It operates with four employees in a 5,000 square foot office. Currently, Botos describes its design team as “small”, but intends to actively expand.

“As our business continues to grow, we understand that with every new client there is a learning curve for everyone involved,” he concludes.

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