Karl-Heinz Fritz on Cicor’s DenciTec Technology

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Cicor1.jpgJohnson: If a designer is considering DenciTec, would it be a good idea for them to get in touch with you before they finish their design?

Fritz: The earlier, the better. We have direct salespeople and representatives located in the United States. The best thing to do if you are thinking about using the assigned parameters within the bandwidth of DenciTec is to contact us as early as possible in the process. If you have to go through several iterations of a design, that makes the whole process longer. We aim to make it the best experience possible by talking with the designer from the very beginning of a project so issues can be avoided in the first step and not just after the second or third step. That's one of the things that distinguishes a Swiss manufacturer from a manufacturer from the Far East. The level of service you have to provide to a customer has to be very high, and we are doing highly complex and reliable work.

Johnson: Does it become more of a working relationship rather than a transactional relationship?

Fritz: Exactly. It's less shopping and more about a partnership with the customer. If we receive a complete assignment, we do our best to fit that into our production. We prefer design for manufacturing (DFM).

Johnson: What other challenges and opportunities is Cicor paying attention to right now?

Fritz: One interesting thing currently happening in the economic environment in the United States is tariffs being put in place. This causes some issues for companies who are sourcing out of China. Cicor might be at an advantage because we have an assembly and box-building site in Vietnam that are not affected by these tariffs. Customers might consider that as an option instead of paying tariffs on getting goods out of China.

Johnson: That makes sense. It might be worth it for a customer to talk with you.

Fritz: Yes. That's something we can cover. We offer nearly all services along the value chain, but that's not the need. It's more of an à-la-carte menu where customers can select whatever they would like to have. They can have the whole thing from the development to the finished device, or they can choose only a particular part.

cicor2.jpgJohnson: Electronic manufacturing services (EMS) providers can sometimes seem like a black box. At Cicor, your customers can open the box select the services that work for them.

Fritz: Exactly. We co-develop products with our customers where the intellectual property (IP) of a product belongs to our customers. We deliver different kinds of circuits to the customers who are doing all the work themselves.

Johnson: Do you have design services involved as well?

Fritz: Design and development service, yes.

Johnson: Can your team start with circuit engineering work at the schematic level or do you start at physical layout?

Fritz: From the very beginning, we do developments where customers come to us with an idea, and then we start with the hardware and software engineering to make a device run.

Johnson: From early in the process all the way to the end. That’s valuable.

Fritz: Yes.

Johnson: Karl, what do you see on the roadmap in the future?

Fritz: Additive manufacturing is a significant topic for us where we evaluate different options that start from doing 3D printing of plastic parts to circuit printing. This is something that will become more important in the future because it’s a macro-trend.

Johnson: Are your customers starting to use 3D printing and additive process techniques in medical and military areas?

Fritz: In the medical industry for additive manufacturing, it has been used for many years. You can have customized parts, such as plastic parts in hearing aids for the ear canal. We don't know a lot of applications yet where they are using this additive processing for circuitry. We've been doing 3D-MID technology for many years, which is a way to create 3D plastic parts with circuitry on it, but we have seen clear limitations. There may be other technologies out there that are more cost-competitive and have technical advantages.

Johnson: What growth has Cicor seen in the last year?

Fritz: Yes. As a company, we are currently on a strong growth path. We’ve had solid double-digit growth in revenue last year and also in the first half year of 2018. This is nice to see, especially in the AMS Division, which has outpaced the competition regarding growth rate.

Johnson: Fantastic. It sounds like Cicor is doing many great things.

Fritz: Thank you for having me.

Johnson: My pleasure. Thank you so much, Karl!


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