As president and CEO of the global electronics industry association, I have many opportunities to visit electronics manufacturing companies worldwide. Recently, while in India, I had the pleasure of attending Integrated Electronics Manufacturing & Interconnections (IEMI), a celebration of 10 years of IPC activities in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the middle east Africa region. I was encouraged by how much growth has occurred over the past decade. Poised to become a global manufacturing hub, India is emerging as a dynamic market for our industry. The government has opened its doors to foreign investors, laying out the red carpet for manufacturing companies, and the industry is thriving.
Because it is estimated that manufacturing opportunities in India will bring the industry $200 billion by 2026—a large increase from the $75 billion India currently takes in—it’s easy to see why the electronics manufacturing industry is looking so closely at India and all that it has to offer. Labor costs are low, the industry is very savvy technically, and English (a dominant language in the business world) is widely spoken.
India’s transformation to a vital manufacturing hub includes Apple opening operations and manufacturing phones there, providing one of the largest products in terms of dollars that Indians consume from a “local” manufacturer. Government officials are reimbursing portions of company investments, based on objectives met by participating companies. Officials encourage semiconductor manufacturing and hope to entice companies to seek out India as a potential spot to set up shop.
To celebrate IPC’s decade in India, I was accompanied to the inaugural IEMI by IPC staff executives Sanjay Huprikar and David Bergman. IEMI is a planned annual event encouraging designers, manufacturers, traders, suppliers, service providers, and technical experts to connect with one another and government officials through member networking events, workshops, and skill challenge competitions as we continue to build an electronics community in India.
Part of those community-building efforts included signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Vidya Vikash Institute of Engineering & Technology in Mysore. This MoU ensures that diploma students take IPC’s Electronics Assembly for Operators training as part of a new course the Institute has developed to expose students to more hands-on work with electronics. Because this initiative helps to develop a future pipeline of workers, it is actively supported by several Mysore-area EMS and PCB companies which are providing internship opportunities to these students to better round out their experience. The students will start the course in a few weeks and wrap up in November. We plan to share the results of the evaluation with Dr. C. N. Ashwath Narayan, the minister of Higher Education, Science & Technology, and skill development for the State Government of Karnataka, and his team. Dr. Narayan was the chief guest at the IEMI 2022 event in Bangalore.
Other highlights of IEMI included encouraging attendees to become more involved in the creation and adoption of global standards and workforce development ("skilling" and "re-skilling") programs such as the government of India’s “Make in India” and “Skill India,” along with updates on the importance of IPC-CFX as the definitive data protocol standard for Industry 4.0 success.
My visit to India and attendance at IEMI illustrated how eager IPC is to support an electronics community that embraces the idea that big problems can be solved when trade associations, training content providers, academic institutions, local industry, and government collaborate in an influential hub for electronics manufacturing. I'd like to strongly encourage India's industry leaders to step up and volunteer their time to engage in critical activities around standards, education, advocacy, and solutions that will benefit the entire value chain.
For additional information on IPC’s activities in India, contact Gaurab Majumdar, IPC India executive director, at GaurabMajumdar@ipc.org.
This column originally appeared in the September 2022 issue of PCB007 Magazine.