The global economy is gearing up for growth after 15 months of pandemic disruption. Companies are adapting what they learned from the crisis to the new normal. We caught up with Zestron’s Latin America Application Engineer Andres Turrubiates for an update on Mexico.
EMSNOW: What has changed since Covid? How has Zestron’s operations in Mexico adapted to the supply chain disruptions brought about by the pandemic?
Since March of 2020 and currently in 2021, we have been trying to maintain consistency regarding customer attention and service. Due to the Covid-19 situation, it was not easy to visit every specific facility where ZESTRON has cleaning applications. For ZESTRON the crisis represented new challenges for how we needed to work differently to meet new customer requirements. We have taken advantage of technology: following Webex sessions, phone calls, meetings, messages in order to track every customer requirement. We knew it was not possible to visit locations or plants and have face to face contact with each customer, but this situation gave us the chance to find other ways to provide service, and we did it. We monitored the stock of material inside of the warehouses for each of the distributors by location. We increased the number of contracts in order to maintain high satisfaction levels in accordance with our company goals. Fortunately the supply chain wasn’t affected and there were no disruptions that could impact the final delivery deadlines for any customer. For ZESTRON, customer attention and level of satisfaction is one of the most important things and we are focusing always to be on time and meet customer expectations.
EMSNOW: The electronics manufacturing market is on track for substantial growth in 2021 and beyond. How will Zestron capture that increased business?
In general I think we are living in a time of a re-structuring of the entire economy. Many companies like ZESTRON have taken the opportunity to explore how technology can enable new strategies of sales, marketing, and very importantly new cleaning products. ZESTRON specially developed cleaning products to address the new electronic materials that are being developed every year. Materials like solder pastes, alloys, coatings, varnishes, circuit boards finishes, electronic components are evolving, and because the technology changes, ZESTRON launched new cleaning agents for these new or modified products. We launched a new generation of pH neutral formulations, specially focused to clean multiple processes for the automotive, telecom, aerospace, medical and consumer products. Innovation is a fundamental part of the ZESTRON company.
EMSNOW: Zestron has developed substantial resources during the past few years, with videos, technical support centers and so forth. Could you talk about how that helps customers in Mexico?
Our technical centers and offices are open for everybody that wants to know about new technology and cleaning challenges. For the customers located in Mexico we can invite them to review through our web page ZESTRON ACADEMY, the new material posted every month. On this ZESTRON page, we post specific dates for new events coming, have virtual training sessions, where our Technical Engineers and experts publish articles, material and update changes regarding our cleaning agents. Every month we have a Webex seminar that addresses issues related not only to cleaning. We use this page to present information about electronics assemblies, challenges of the new stencils designs, solder paste alloys & flux formulation, machines types, processes like SMT assembly, theories and practical issues encountered during the development of new assemblies as well as the materials used. The users can subscribe free, and can attend the virtual session online. They can talk with the other experts in the electronics field. So the invitation is open and we are more than glad to be part of the suppliers that can assist them and put them in contact with more people that are part of the new wave of students and engineers that are looking for solutions for their process issues.
EMSNOW: I love your approach to cleaning — solving manufacturing challenges with chemistry. Can you tell us some stories about board cleaning and reliability issues that your products were able to solve?
I can tell many stories about how ZESTRON cleaners solve problems. You can use a cleaner to remove flux, wet solder, adhesives, oils, wax, oxide, and multiple contaminants from material surfaces. You can’t imagine how many items that are in your home like your dish washer, refrigerator, laundry system, your mobile phone, lap-top, home theater, security system installed to protect your house, your own car, all of them were probably assembled somewhere in the world where ZESTRON cleaning agents were used during the process. When we talk about ZESTRON cleaners, these products were used to remove some contamination on the assembled board, were applied to the machines to manufacturer these products, the housing, the components, and so on. We are part of nearly every aspect of manufacturing everything with electronics. Our customers are companies that assemble or produce space satellites, medical robots, military gadgets, cars, trucks, computers, touch screens, and so much more.
EMSNOW: How do you see electronics manufacturing evolving in Mexico? For example, are product purchasing decisions being made at the local level, or does that still happen at the customers’ headquarters?
Definitely Mexico is one the pillars of the electronics manufacturing industry. We have the capacity to assemble complex products running low volumes, high volumes or every specific customer requirement. We have in our country very talented people that can meet the challenges for our local industry. Around 25 to 30 years ago, companies founded or initiated operations here, made decisions at their headquarters, looking to protect the intellectual property, designs, or technical information that they didn’t want revealed. After some time, this situation changed, and the same companies began to encourage our engineers and technicians to experiment and make their own decisions, changing the perspective. We are now usually sharing decisions between headquarters and local offices, focusing on improving quality in all the processes.
EMSNOW: As innovation and design capabilities increase in Mexico, how do you see that changing the landscape?
This tendency could mean more companies will be looking at Mexico as a country where they can grow investments, production, new designs, new markets, etc. We need to think how this model can be adopted for other world regions, especially places where there is a need for innovation for sustaining projects. For now ZESTRON is supporting the region from strategic offices, and operations to serve all the countries in the region that could potentially use our products. But in the future, other possible Latin American countries should to be explored in order to keep the business growing and offer solutions for coming challenges.
EMSNOW: Zestron’s engineered product ATRON DC and the focus on cleaning conformal coating is of interest to our readers. Why was this product developed and what challenge does it address?
This new product is formulated to avoid the risk of using solvent. Our chemists saw the challenge for a friendly product that can be used easily, conformed by a low odor zero volatile compound, and formulation that can be used safely with no danger to the environment, workers, and materials that are in contact with the cleaner. Other products exist on the market but the ZESTRON philosophy is to create friendly products that can meet the customer requirements. Water formulas will always be more safe than the products based on other types of agents derived from petroleum, organic, or synthetic compounds that are less effective and more risky to the environment.
EMSNOW: How has the product been received in the market?
Fortunately ATRON DC has been very well received. The formulation can easily remove urethane, acrylic, and silicon coatings, making this cleaning fast and safe. Also the product can be used simultaneously for extra cycles, because of our own proprietary formulation and technique, generating costs savings versus the solvent cleaners that are more expensive and risky to store and transport. ATRON DC can be used to wash or manually clean conformal coating frames, pallets, nozzles, valves, and mechanical parts that are in contact with the conformal coating. This cleaner reduces significantly the time spent to do machine or tools maintenance. Is a great product for washing conformal coating pallets where using other cleaners takes a lot of time.
EMSNOW: Is there anything else you would like to tell our audience?
ZESTRON wants to be one of the suppliers that can assist in production and process improvements. ZESTRON – MORE THAN CHEMISTRY ….