Andrew Kucheryavy’s interview
Rezonit: 20 years of investments.
In April 2017, one of the PCB and contract manufacturing market leaders turns 20. Business, created from a scratch in 1997, now has a few factories, PCBA departments and several thousands of customers all over the country - from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad. Rezonit CEO, Andrew Kucheryavy, told our edition how company had developed over the years, what difficulties it had to face and what markets it is planning to conquer in the future.
Andrew, in 20 years’ time your company has overcome long and thorny way. Tell us a bit about the history of how the company was created.
It’s true that our company was created at the emerging market. After graduating from university and after working for a few years in manufacturing companies, I realized that nobody was offering PCBs except for immobile dilapidated Soviet factories and profiteers from Mitino radio market which offered no guarantee on quality of their products and on the terms of the order execution, so I decided to create a company of my own working in this industry.
We rented a tiny office, started working and we collected a significant amount of orders pretty quickly by Russian terms at that point of time.
First of all, good knowledge of the PCB design tools helped us, which allowed us not only to execute additional file checks-overs, but to develop projects particular to certain technological peculiarities of the manufacturer.
Secondly, the demand on this type of service at that point of time was enormous, but the offer in the market was extremely low.
What can you say about the competition with foreign companies?
At the 2nd half of the 1990’s foreign companies weren’t really represented in the Russian market. At that point of time, besides Russian factories, Belorussian manufacturers were playing a significant role in PCB market. In the 1997-1998, manufacturers from Poland and Baltic states started to appear, but the financial crisis of August 1998 and devaluation of rubble following the crisis turned this tendency. A bit after that, right at the beginning of 2000s, offers from China started to appear. Our company was one of the first ones to set foot in the Asian market. Starting from 2001, we started posting orders not only at the Russian manufacturers, but at the factories in China as well.
How did transition from mediation services to production take place?
While working with old soviet manufacturers, we couldn’t always control the deadlines and quality of production. At some point of time, we started thinking about the creation of production assets of our own – first of all, about the creation of assembling department, then about the PCB production venues. We opened our first assembling department in Zelenograd in 2003.
A year after that, in 2004, two PCB production units closed – at the factories “Kvant” and “Elaks”. We bought the old equipment, hired specialists, rented space and opened our own PCB production.
We opened one more PCBA line in 2006, in St. Petersburg for our clients’ convinience.
In 2013, we launched a new large factory which produces medium series of PCBs in Klinskiy district of Moscow region, and just a year after, we moved there all of our PCBA department and contract electronics production facilities.
Stencil production sections were opened in Moscow in 2010 and in St Petersburg in 2012.
Up to this day, Rezonit is one of the leaders in the market. By various estimates, the company is on 1st-2nd place in PCB production (prototypes and small series). It is also one of the three leading PCB vendors from China (large series), one of the three leading stencil manufactures and it is one of the largest contract electronics manufacturers in the country.
Please, tell us more about the industrial venues in Klin.
Our company was created from a scratch and it has been developing quite dynamically. All of the funds earned were invested in new equipment and growth of capacity. At some point of time, our factories were located on the rented areas.
Along with that, the requirements of our customers to the PCB complexity were increasing. In order to achieve higher technological level, significant investments were required in equipment, engineering, clean areas. Since wasting money on rented areas would’ve been irrational, we started thinking about buying our own industrial site.
We chose Klinskiy district of the Moscow region. In 2008, we bought dilapidated textile mill in Zubovo. It took us five years to reconstruct the factory, purchase modern equipment and install engineering systems. Now, our plant in Klin is not just one of the most technologically advanced electronics production in Russia, it’s on the same technological level with the world’s leading manufacturers.
Speaking about the new production, it’s necessary to cover ecological aspect. How do you provide environmental control on your manufactures?
We’ve created our own environmental service which is constantly monitoring all the data of our industrial facilities in Zelenograd and Klin.
We’ve also equipped our own laboratory with the most modern tools for operating control not only on technological data of the production, but on the vast majority of all environmental data available.
At our new production plant in Klin, we’ve managed to create a unique recycling water system. Our engineers working together with specialists from Italian engineering company managed to achieve an almost complete return of sewage waters back to our production cycle. Returning ratio is 99,3%, remaining concentrate is being utilized by an approved organization. As far as I am concerned, this is the only “zero-discharge” solution in PCB production in Russia.
How is the quality control at your manufactures organized?
We have a united service for quality control which supervises the quality of production. We are certified according to the standards of ISO 9001 and a Russian national standard GOST, we are also a part of the international association IPC. Our manufacturing technicians inspect regularly (minimum twice a year) our suppliers in China, and besides visiting PCB plants, they also visit basic materials suppliers where we purchase goods for our factories.
Our quality control system is constantly being modernized, not only in the part of upgrading the equipment, but also in the part of IT-infrastructure.
In production we use all quality controlling tools available: fly probe test, AOI systems, X-ray inspection facilities and other equipment. We are planning to purchase additional control tools and equipment for physical and chemical laboratories in the near future.
We started working on the creation of our own testing center of end products on our plant in Klin.
Who is your typical customer?
In my point of view, it’s incorrect to talk about a typical customer. We are working in almost all of the segments of the electronics market. We produce prototypes and PCB medium series in our factories, deliver mass-production PCBs, make stencils, provide PCBA services and full cycle of the contract manufacturing. Clients of Rezonit are large Russian companies, foreign companies, working on the Russian market, small and medium manufacturing companies, design bureaus and companies working on the development of electronics. Our products are used for different industries. Depending on demand, we can fulfill not only fast prototype services of a few PCB items, but we can also produce a mass-production order on a turnkey basis – production of boards, component supply and final assembly of end products.
We are doing our best to build cooperation with our clients on the early stages of product designing, we are trying to make it possible for developers to take important technological and manufacturing aspects into account. We are constantly holding seminars for our customers in our production site in Klin where we share our experience in the product development and show nuances affecting quality of the end product.
I was really glad to see that after visiting our plant and having Q&A sessions with our engineers, engineers start to actively consult during the process of their product design. It doesn’t only help to prevent a possible production of defective goods, but it reduces time spent on launching a product to mass market, as well as increases reliability of an electronic module.
Both, PCB and PCBA production are hi-tech streams which require the most advanced equipment and technologies. It implies huge investments. What is the source of investments for your projects?
Rezonit is 100% private company. During all those 20 years, all of the business profits were invested in modernizing of production, infrastructure and new equipment installation. We were forced to be credited while working on some projects, sometimes we were able to arrange installment contracts with our equipment suppliers. There is nothing special about it.
New technologies appear, a level of standards is being increased. In order to meet the market requirements, it is necessary to invest in business development. I guess this process has no end. We use the most up-to-date equipment and basic materials, take measures in order to increase technological level of production. I don’t really want to use the term “import substitution”, but if 10 years ago we were only able to make the simplest PCBs, 3-4 years ago we mastered to produce the vast majority of PCB variations at our factories, now we manufacture PCBs almost of all kinds. For the last few years, we have launched production of hybrid multilayer PCBs using High Tg and High-Frequency materials, multilayer boards with impedance control, blind and buried vias, edge plating boards.
I would specifically mention our IT-solutions. We put a lot of effort and resources into IT-infrastructure, automation and online solutions. Our company is at the same level with the leading European companies in terms of automation of the production processes.
In the future, we would really like to build a mass-production factory producing large PCB series. Now, we still ship most of these orders from South East Asia. We would like to “push” China away in this segment. Sadly, for now, our estimations show us that this type of project won’t be profitable but we we don't give up and we are searching for solutions.
What do you think is the reason behind the company success in the market?
The main reason of our success is our employees. We are definitely most obliged to them in all of our achievements we’ve reached. I think we were really lucky to gather such a great team. We have almost no staff turnover at all since any capable person makes a career here. More than that, we are trying our best to find potential leaders and contribute to their promotion. Investments in an individual are very important to us, since only work in a friendly and ambitious team, increase in productivity and staff development will contribute to healthy development of the company. If back in 1997, Rezonit had only 4 people working, today the number of employees is more than 500.
Company “Rezonit” was established in 1997 by the graduates of National Research University of Electronic Technology. During the first few years, the company was engaged in classic trading, client attraction and placing orders at the factories of Russia and Belarus.
- In 2001, the first contract was signed with PCB suppliers from China. Rezonit became one of the first companies to enter Asian market.
- In 2003, first PCBA production site was launched.
- In 2004, in-house PCB production was started in Zelenograd.
- In 2006, PCBA production facilities were opened in St. Petersburg.
- In 2008, a factory reconstruction was started in Klin, Moscow region.
- In 2010 and 2012, stencil producing departments were opened in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
- In 2013, PCB middle series production factory was opened in Klin.
Currently there are more than 500 people working in the company. PCB factories and PCBA facilities work in Zelenograd, Klin and Saint-Petersburg. Branches of the company are opened in St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. Representatives’ offices are in Voronezh, Izhevsk, Kazan, Krasnodar, Rostov-na-Donu, Nizhniy Novgorod, Perm, Saratov and Ufa.
Andrew Kucheryavy, 47 years old, has been CEO since 1997. He was born and raised in Sergeev Posad, Moscow Region, graduated from the MIET having specialization at “Design and construction of integral microchips”. He is married and has two children.