EMSNOW Mexico Executive Interview: Jim Villalvazo, Interlatin
Interlatin S de RL de CV was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing technological solutions for industry and manufacturing in Mexico — and the world. They are a team of highly qualified engineers, with offices in different locations in Mexico and the United States. These capabilities enable them to become a high-tech business partner for clients. Interlatin has a long history of innovation and leadership in consulting, testing, design and manufacturing of tools for the electronics industry, as well as industrial design software, supplies and consumables; the company has special expertise in automation and Internet of things. Recently, Interlatin was honored with two industry awards for its “Cobra” stencil solution. It was the first Mexican company to receive these awards and proves that Mexico has reached an important milestone in its innovation journey. Interlatin is one of only a few technology developers in México, but that situation is changing rapidly. EMSNOW Mexico sat down with Interlatin’s Jim Villalvazo to find out more about this award and the future of innovation in Mexico.
EMSNOW: Tell us about the Cobra stencil solution
Receiving these awards represents a major breakthrough for innovation in Mexico. In the past, the companies that received the awards were representing companies from outside Mexico. But Interlatin focused specifically on a technology solution made in México, and we won the competition with companies that come from the U.S., China, Germany, and other countries. This recognition of our “Cobra” solution means the judges understand how important it is to the SMT process. With Cobra, the stencil lasts for more than 3 years and more than 350,000 print strokes. Other brands last for only about 90,000 print strokes. This is a huge advance in stencil technology. Engineers that use this solution achieve such efficiencies that they have no need for a new line, which provides a huge savings for the company.
But Cobra is not just addressing productivity issues. It is a revolutionary process tool using nano-technology processes. This is not a coating. This is a nano-process. Process engineers know that what happens in the beginning of the SMT process substantially impacts the end result. We have proven it is possible to impact the first pass yield with better stencil accuracy. Now AOI can happen after pick and place. If the printer enables 100% first pass yield, which is what we can do now. In one instance, we demonstrated 17,000 products printed – 100% first pass yield – nobody else can do that. The process has a written guarantee for the life of the stencil.
EMSNOW: What is your general view of the industry now? We have global trade issues, and more companies are reconsidering their global footprint. What will be the impact on Mexico?
With the pull back in some industries, specifically automotive, people are talking about layoffs – that there is a lot of changeover. I see it a different way. The layoffs are occurring because the industry is looking more strictly at process control. So they have to have changeover – it’s not an indication of slower business, it’s an indication of sharpening our business and becoming better at manufacturing. Mexico is polishing itself. It will grow more. SMT is maturing. The processes are becoming more important. We need stringent, hands on support. The people need to be more highly trained. Once developed, you need the line to run by itself, and then you have IoT. But before that, the processes have to be flawless.
We aren’t laying people off because the business is soft. We are sharpening our skills.
I started 22 years ago in this industry. I started with DEC. I’m one of the founders of Interlatin. I took over the engineering side of SMT and have trained a lot of people. During the SMTA Guadalajara Expo we talked about how important the printer is – I have been saying this forever. It was and continues to be very important. My roots are here in Mexico. I was born in California, but I’ve lived here a long time. I am convinced that Mexico is on the cusp of great things, and will make major contributions to the global technology industry.
EMSNOW: Back to the awards. What about the Cobra stencil solution made it revolutionary?
It is a nano-stencil. A nano-stencil is considered a coated stencil. But it is different. We say it is the no-nano, nano-stencil. This was such an honor because the judges were global. We won an award that was recognized globally. This is very important for Mexico. This honors our dream of taking care of what feeds us, of building and honing our skills in manufacturing. I believe we are representing Mexico well, and we have made a major contribution to global electronics technology, and that’s because Mexico is capable of a lot of innovation.
EMSNOW: Explain the importance of the award to the company and to the government.
This is very significant. I want to thank our marketing people who helped with this honor. I personally have gone to all the facilities in Mexico to congratulate all the stencil people that worked on this – not just the designers, but the engineers, it’s everyone working together. We all won this award.
All the people in the organization have a huge sense of accomplishment and pride because we won this award.
We have been receiving continuing recognition in Mexico for winning this award. CANIETI will honoring us with a special dinner. So now that this award has happened, it will change the future for other companies. Now there are a lot of companies like Interlatin – we started this approach. Putting sales and engineers together? That’s like oil and water. We don’t sell machines, we sell processes. That includes engineering, automation, IoT, training. There are a lot of companies now in Mexico that have followed this model – because just selling machines does not elevate the country’s capabilities and that’s what will bring Mexico to the next stage of innovation.