Pascal Aubois is Plant Manager for GDL Circuits, an ALL Circuits Mexican entity. He started his career 35 years ago at IBM France, but joined the EMS industry at Solectron in 1992. He’s served the industry managing sites in Spain, France, Hungary, China and now finds himself in Mexico. We asked him for an update on his activities in Guadalajara during this challenging year.
EMSNOW: Tell us about GDL Sensing/IEE/All Circuits. What is the history of that facility?
GDL Circuits and IEE SENSING GDL are two different entities from the same group under the same roof since 2018. This combination results in complementary activities, with GDL Circuits concentrating on PCBA and IEE manufacturing the final products. There is no intent from GDL Circuits to compete with any Customer at the finished product level. GDL Circuits is a state of the art PCBA manufacturing site dedicated to quality. Our main targeted markets are automotive, for sure, but also industrial and medical.
EMSNOW: How has your company responded to the COVID-19 crisis?
We’ve implemented the first sanitary measurements mid-March (masks, distances, temperature body check, sanitized mats, home office when feasible) and we have received rapidly the certification delivered by the IMSS to allow the essential activities to operate safely.
EMSNOW: How are your people doing?
Until now, we have had a total of six employees infected by the virus. Some of them had to stay several days in the hospital but all are now on the safe side hopefully. In case of symptoms, we perform a fast test to all case contacts, and if fast test is positive, we systematically perform a PCR test; it’s the same when employees are coming back from quarantine.
EMSNOW: Do you see long-term changes in the way you operate because of COVID-19? If so, what are they?
Well, we are going to continue to wear masks and respect sanitary distances for a while, I think. That’s a real and durable change in terms of behaviors. No more hugs … which is a big change for Mexican people! Even if I’m French, I’m missing it, frankly speaking. As far as communication, video conference meetings using Microsoft teams are also part of our day to day working life now.
EMSNOW: Design engineering capabilities in Mexico have expanded in recent years. What new services can customers utilize now, compared to say five years ago?
Compared to five years ago, SMT placement equipment is faster and faster. It’s still a race for speed but in addition, industry 4.0 and artificial intelligence are ramping up, bringing more quality to the manufacturing (for instance, AOI and SPI communicating together on one SMT line)
EMSNOW: What is the secret to getting engineering students to want to work in electronics hardware manufacturing? In the U.S. the engineering students want to go into software. Is it different in Mexico?
We are still turning out a population of fresh engineers willing to physically touch the products, and Guadalajara has many universities to provide us with new engineers every year. We don’t see the same trend yet as in the U.S.
EMSNOW: What do you see as the future trends in electronics manufacturing in Mexico?
A robust annual growth is still expected here in Mexico.
EMSNOW: Will the region be able to keep up with the growth resulting from projects moving to the Americas from Asia?
As China is now concentrating on their local market, it’s allowing Mexico to reinforce the rank of privileged EMS supplier for the Americas.
EMSNOW: What else do you want to tell EMSNOW readers?
You should come to visit us soon as we still have capacity available but new projects are coming fast. We don’t know for how long we will have spare capacity in our current building.