Over the past few years American Standard Circuits of West Chicago, Illinois has been focused on educating the marketplace on various aspects of printed circuit board technology. They have provided their customers, potential customers and yes, even competitors, with valuable content about PCBs. They have published e-books, columns, articles, white papers, lunch and learns and during the past two years of Covid at least forty webinars. During this time, their good efforts have attracted a great deal of attention including mine. In this interview, Dan Beaulieu sat down with Anaya Vardya who is the President and CEO of American Standard Circuits to discuss why they are providing all this valuable content, about his company’s education initiative, how it has affected their business, and what their plans are for the future.
Dan: Anaya, good to see you. Thanks for talking to me today.
Anaya: No problem, my pleasure Dan.
Dan: Okay first let’s talk about the company. Tell me a little bit about ASC.
Anaya: Sure, ASC has been in business for over thirty years. We consider ourselves the most flexible and able PCB company in North America. We have a complete menu of technology from single, double-sided and multi-layer PCBs to RF and Microwave Boards, to flex and rigid-flex to metal-backed thermal boards. We are proud of the fact that we can accommodate just about all our customers’ needs in all markets including Mil Aerospace, Medical, Automotive and all services from R&D to QTA to NPI to a complete synergistic solution Design, Fab and Assembly.
Dan: Wow you do cover it all.
Anaya: And by the way all under one roof except for design and assembly when we use strategic partners. Oh, and we also offer global solutions using several Asian strategic suppliers.
Dan: Very impressive! Okay, let’s get to what we are here for. Let’s talk about your education program.
Anaya: Sure. One of the goals we had, when we started this program, was to be thought leaders. We felt that there was a vacuum when it came to the education of people who buy and use PCBs. If you go back several years, there were virtually no PCBA companies and the OEMs bought and assembled their own PCBs. Back then all these OEMs were well versed in PCB technology. In fact, they were the leaders of the industry. Many of these large OEMs like Raytheon, Rockwell, GE, RCA, Martin Marietta, Lockheed, all had their own PCB fabrication facilities. They would develop the technology, they produced what was then cutting edge technology and they did the R&D and then when board construction was established and the design of the PCB was solidified, they would turn to us, and we would build the boards for them. Now with the onset of independent assembly companies, the OEMs eventually ceded their PCB technology leadership to independent PCB shops and let the PCBA buy the boards. So that source of technology was lost.
But the independent shops (most of them), did not have the bandwidth to educate the rest of the industry PCB users on the latest technology. Which in turn created a serious knowledge gap among the people who buy boards.
Our goal at ASC has been to fill that gap. To educate our customers, the board buyers, and users.
Dan: Now that is an ambitious goal. Can you talk about some of the things you are offering in terms of educating the market?
Anaya: Yes absolutely. We have published four micro eBooks on Flex and Rigid-Flex, Thermal Technology, Metal backed PCBs and even a very popular book on the fundamentals of PCBs, a sort of PCB 101. These books are all available for download on our website. We also print hard copies for people who want to have those.
Dan: Yes, I’ve seen them, they look great. Can you tell us how those books are doing?
Anaya: They are doing great! We have had well over fifteen thousand downloads so far as well as given away hundreds of hard copies. People seem to love them, which is very gratifying for us at ASC.
Dan: Dan: It cannot hurt your market presence as well.
Anaya: Absolutely! We have had excellent responses and yes, I will admit that it has helped us grow our business as well.
Dan: As they say, content is king.
Dan: So, I know you have done a whole series of webinars on a wide variety of subjects. Can you talk about that as well?
Anaya: Sure, so far, we have done about forty webinars on all aspects of PCB technology from Metal Backed to flex and rigid-flex. We do them live with about one hundred or so people watching and then we have them available on-demand. You can access our on-demand webinars here. As a bonus, we invite other experts to share giving the webinars with us. We have shared the stage with high tech laminate suppliers most recently where we introduced a new series partnering with a large PCB Design Service bureau where a designer talks with one of our PCB experts sharing tips and guidelines on how PCB designers and fabricators can collaborate to producing a much better PCB.
Dan: And before I forget, I know personally that I received monthly newsletters from you as well. Talk about those.
Anaya: Yes, those are very popular as well. We use these newsletters to engage directly with our customers. Each month we focus on one aspect of PCB technology including an article on that specific technology. We also provide company news and updates. But the most important thing as with everything we do is to educate the market. We send these out to over fifteen thousand people every month.
Dan: That all sounds great. I have to congratulate you on that. You are certainly leading the way when it comes to PCB education. So, what else can you do? Do you have other things in mind for the future?
Anaya: Oh sure. Of course, we will keep doing more of what we have been doing. And we will keep our audience informed of all new inroads in PCB technology. But other things we have in mind include Virtual Plant Tours focused on an in-depth look at various critical process steps. And one other thing I should have mentioned is that we have started what we call 77 Second Webinars. These are short videos focused on one specific aspect of technology. These feature one of our experts explaining a specific technology. These are very informative and popular as well. Our 77-second videos can be found on the American Standard Circuits YouTube channel. We are planning more eBooks as well. And we have several other projects in the works that we are not ready to talk about yet.
Dan: Whew! That’s enough for now. Good job and on behalf of the industry we thank you and your team for making this tremendous effort to educate all of us.
Anaya: No problem, thanks for doing this.
Dan: It was my pleasure.