There is good news for electronics engineers as a new Test Centre of Excellence has come up in Bengaluru to meet all design and prototype related challenges. Launched on April 12 by Microlease, this centre would serve as a one stop solution powering technology growth in India.
With a broad spectrum of testing in the RF/Semiconductor area, the centre would enable engineers find test assets in seconds instead of days, leading to faster reach to market. Engineers could avail the facilities on an innovative pay as you go basis.
“India is emerging as the forerunner in the next era of technology innovations. Microlease has been deeply involved with the Indian market for over a decade now and partners closely with various agencies, training institutes and technology companies, facilitating technology growth in India,” said David Whitfield, chief executive officer (CEO) – Asia, Microlease.
He added: “We have already invested over $20m in the Indian market, primarily in the telecom testing sector. With this Test Centre of Excellence, we look forward to further strengthening our ties with the Indian market.”
The inaugural event was followed by a panel discussion that brain stormed on several aspects of Test and Measurement scenario in India. Let’s have a look at what the experts had to say.
By pointing at the loopholes existing in test and measurement sector of the country, Anil Kumar Muniswamy, managing director (MD) at SLN Technologies and chairman, IESA said: “We lack in the imagination part to do the manufacturing. While we have realised that the capital is the basic commodity needed in manufacturing process, as entrepreneurs we use our capital on things that do not add value to the manufacturing set up.”
“We should learn to do the designing part by focusing on people and outsourcing tools and software required in the process along with outsourcing the testing part as well. This will serve as the key to build an ecosystem that moves up the value chain – a crucial part for most industries, particularly the defence,” he added.
He mentioned that despite building crucial systems like black box for fighter aircrafts and control system for the first mission under Chandrayaan Project, SLN Technologies had outsourced 70% of their testing to other companies. “A model or an equipment can never be 100% tested. Hence, it is wise to outsource other companies for testing and not spend energy and capital on testing alone,” he added.
Ramakrishna Goud, general manager (GM), Sales at Keysight Technology, said: “We definitely do have talent in India. However, we are all working for multinationals. While we have adequate skillset, Intellectual Property (IP), hardware and software, we end up in spending more on test and measurement. We should now come up with more India based design centres so that we are able to design products in our country that are manufactured somewhere else.”
Modern technologies need better labs, testing space
With modern technologies in IT and communication coming in, lack of labs and testing space would is a major concern. This because the end users are also looking for high-end products, the experts said.
“IESA has come up with two design centres – one Centre of Excellence at Hubli for Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) and another acceleration lab – Safal where several products are being developed. However, testing is a major issue there. With modern technologies like 5G, IoT and AI, there is a vacuum in terms of testing and security,” said Anil Kumar Muniswamy.
With the semiconductor companies keeping their designs in-house, there is a huge shift primarily driven by this process, said Rajkumar Chandrasekar, engineering director, SOC Realization Group. “Today the lowest speed we can talk about is the PC 8th gen core and it does not make any sense for a consumer or semiconductor manufacturer to keep the designs in-house,” he added.
A helping hand from the government
Apart from initiatives like ‘Design in India’ and ‘Make in India’, the government is also bringing up new initiatives to help the test and measurement industry. “Government is setting up certification courses. 400 million dollars have been spent on importing hardware. Instead of depending on imported hardware we should now encourage manufacturing hardware in the country,” said Jayanth Ramachandran, business development head, wireless and network operator test at Rohde & Schwarz.
Government of India and IESA have come up with another interesting initiative – Electropreneur Park in Delhi partnering with Cadence and Infineon. With all facilities in-house it provides a start-up the essential platform to build its products.
IESA also has hired a senior vice president from Government Policy and Innovation Initiatives to help in process innovation with government where it requires collaboration with other partners in the supply chain. This is a special initiative to help the test and measurement industry in general in case of any legitimate government issues they face.
All that is getting better
It is no more a test match but a T20 cricket in the design cycle too. Everything is getting more stringent day by day. Saving up time and money by focusing more on design is the key aspect towards achieving success now, believe the experts.
“In order to get a product certified you must wait for two to three months to get a slot to the certification lab. In case it fails, you will have to go back and repeat the same procedure again leading to wastage of time and money. To avoid this, we have come up with pre-compliant Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) solutions that reduce the expenditure by 50 to 1,000$,” added Sujeeth Pai, India Head at Tektronix.
In addition to the Test Centre of Excellence, Microlease also provides a variety of value-added services like training, support and consultation for implementation of custom testing solutions. It also offers an intellectual property secure test environment for users by guaranteeing a ‘no data holding’ policy.
With such test centres and initiatives, we can hope to see a better and rapid growth in Design and Make in India strategies soon, the experts say.