Siddharth Unny, director, TL Micro Automation
Siddharth Unny, director, TL Micro Automation

Q. What is your organisation’s unique selling proposition (USP) for electronics design?
A. Our organisation focuses on complete product design, from concept to ready-for-manufacture. We design keeping in mind manufacturing cost as a key parameter. In electronics, it is fairly simple to put together a few components and get something working, e.g., connect a Bluetooth module to a microcontroller, add a few sensors and voila, you have a smartphone-based home automation system. The challenge is to design such a system to be cost-effective and ready to sell in the market in terms of reliability. So, our USP is that we design keeping cost and reliability as most important requirements and inputs for design.. Our organisation focuses on complete product design, from concept to ready-for-manufacture. We design keeping in mind manufacturing cost as a key parameter. In electronics, it is fairly simple to put together a few components and get something working, e.g., connect a Bluetooth module to a microcontroller, add a few sensors and voila, you have a smartphone-based home automation system. The challenge is to design such a system to be cost-effective and ready to sell in the market in terms of reliability. So, our USP is that we design keeping cost and reliability as most important requirements and inputs for design.

Q: Could you tell us about the design services you offer?
A. We offer complete product development, i.e., from prototype to ready-for-manufacture. We also set up the manufacturing line for clients and can even take care of the manufacturing, as a service. Prominently, we do end-of-line testing and quality testing, maintenance and upgrade. We also exclusively offer services like printed circuit board (PCB) designing, according to requirement.

Q. Tell us about the packages you provide for start-ups.
A. We have come across many start-ups who invest in an idea, reach a stage and then give up. To make sure that does not happen, we offer to evaluate the end-cost of the product and feasibility of a design right at the start, for a nominal fee. We then suggest ideas that would be feasible, according to their requirements. We can even help convert an idea into technical specifications. We also do a detailed costing process that includes vendor charges and development charges.

Q. What are the key technologies you work on?
A. We work with all kinds of microprocessors and microcontrollers. We aim to be truly platform independent as far as hardware is concerned. We also work with wireless technologies, custom protocols, algorithms, machine control and sensor technologies.

Q. Out of these, what are the technologies you are known for?
A. We are well-known for our strength in wireless. We are especially good at wireless hardware design. We can provide complete solutions in the wireless arena, including custom hardware and software. We optimise our designs for range, size, power, battery life and reliability in message delivery.

Q. Are there any niche industry applications that you focus on?
A. Custom control units for legacy machines and test rigs are two niche applications we focus on. The newer machines come with good human-machine-interface (HMI) and modern control units. We retrofit the older machines that do not have these features, with our control units. This gives them a modern interface as well as enables smartphone-based diagnostics and status, which is the requirement of many of our clients. For test rigs, we provide end-of-line testing capability for many products. This ensures quality before a product leaves the manufacturing facility.

Q. How do you go about the end-of-line testing process?
A. Once the product is designed, before it goes for shipping, we test to check for mainly manufacturing defects. We write special code and have specific boards that we integrate with the system to be tested. This way, the system is not affected, while errors like soldering defects and loading of wrong software version can be detected and rectified. This is also a very important aspect of quality control.

Q. What are the major circuit/system design projects you are currently working on?
A. We are working on wireless connectivity-based projects and material tracking systems for retail applications. We also focus on providing indoor location services like tracking of material and people within a large building.

We are developing a light-emitting diode (LED) lighting product for the consumer market. This is actually a ‘FUN’ product that is new for us. It is basically a multi-colour LED light with built-in intelligence. You can program it to flash different colours at different times and in different patterns. Depending on the orientation and programming, it can be used in various scenarios – as a flashlight or hazard light; it can even be extended to gamification, like using sensors to make it respond to music. Stuff like these aim to be a relief from a serious atmosphere, are relatively easier to make, cost less, and we find that there is a huge market for this. Even big shots enjoy the small pleasures that go with a product like this.

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