Customer Success Stories
Connecting the Dots with Titoma and Altium
“We’ve been using Altium since we set up our offices in Manizales - a key factor back then was how long it would take us to get the office up to speed, including set up and training. Everyone agreed that Altium had the advantage of a short learning curve to allow us to keep up with tight design and production schedules.”
Discover how a full-service engineering and product manufacturing company with offices in China, Colombia, and Taiwan got everyone on the same page with Altium technology.
The Titoma Group is a full-service engineering and manufacturing firm, established in 2001. They’ve helped design and mass-produce just about everything from atmospheric laser lighting and biometric access controls to defibrillators and keyboards for special needs users.
Expediency is critical for electronics companies, which is something the Titoma Group excels in; their name is even an anagram of the phrase “Time to Market”.
The Titoma Group has three divisions—Titoma Design, Titoma Manufacturing, and Titoma Engineering. Each division is located in a different part of the world; Titoma Design is in Taipei, Taiwan; Titoma Manufacturing is in Hong Kong, and Titoma Engineering is in Manizales, Colombia.
To best serve their clients, the Titoma Group designs everything in-house, including hardware, firmware and mechanical parts. The branches work together across most projects, requiring constant communication between PCB designers, electrical and mechanical engineers, project managers, and clients.
For the Titoma Group, having the right PCB software is essential—especially one that integrates with eCAD and mCAD tools with ease and streamlines collaborative efforts across continents.
Adopting the Industry Standard
As Leo M. Naranjo, Titoma Group’s Chief Technology Officer, explains, “We’ve been using Altium since we set up our offices in Manizales - a key factor back then was how long it would take us to get the office up to speed, including set up and training. Everyone agreed that Altium had the advantage of a short learning curve to allow us to keep up with tight design and production schedules.”
The company is in a unique position to recruit and train engineering students, with five major accredited universities surrounding them. Training students and staff on how to use Altium Designer is much easier than other PCB design tools. Students begin their training in Colombia, and then spend six months interning in Taiwan. The program gives students the meaningful work experience they need to pursue careers with the Titoma Group or other electronics companies.
“Altium has allowed us to work seamlessly around the clock with tight collaboration between our Colombia and our Taipei offices; in Colombia, the team can work more efficiently. In Taipei, our mechanical team is physically closer to the factories and mold shops, so they are in a better position to review integration and comment on design changes.”
Bringing Everyone Together
Getting a global workforce together is no easy feat, especially in the Design for Manufacturing realm.
Close team coordination between Titoma Engineering in Colombia and Titoma Design in Taiwan is absolutely vital. The team also needs to be able to easily collaborate with their manufacturing factories in China and Taiwan across most projects.
While the Manziales office used Altium Designer from its inception, getting the Titoma Group’s sister offices in Taipei and Hong Kong to migrate away from the PCB tools they were using in Asia was a bit more challenging. In Asia, other PCB platforms are considered industry standard, despite their many shortcomings.
“The tools they were using had a myriad of problems,” Naranjo elaborates, “Data corruption was the norm. Reading files from suppliers typically resulted in execution errors, we couldn’t natively export 3D files, and importing was a painful process done with third-party scripts. We also couldn’t get used to the interface, which would have made training new hires much harder.”
Altium Designer with Altium 365 has made global collaboration almost effortless for the Titoma Group. “Altium has allowed us to work seamlessly around the clock with tight collaboration between our Colombia and our Taipei offices; in Colombia, the team can work more efficiently. In Taipei, our mechanical team is physically closer to the factories and mold shops, so they are in a better position to review integration and comment on design changes,” Naranjo adds.
“Altium's job configuration allows us to quickly update manufacturing files, which encourages our designers to spend more time actually designing. The export process takes less than 5 minutes, and it’s mostly automated. Features such as export to 3D PDF means that our mold makers in China, who don’t have any EDA tools, can have an excellent idea of the latest changes we're making on a PCB without sending them new samples. This saves us a lot of time.”
Streamlining the Most Time-Consuming Processes
Prototyping is a part of the design process that allows customers to see their designs before they go into production.
“One of the most time-consuming processes is the design and prototyping of PCB printed antennas; it used to be a trial and error process for us, and moving a design from a prototype house to a factory meant re-validating the designs from zero.”
With Altium Designer + Altium 365, the process is smooth and simple. “We can now import all our different supplier’s specifications and produce different manufacturing files for prototyping houses and factories; thus, the designs are already optimized for manufacturing processes and materials,” concludes Naranjo.