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Andy Kannurpatti gives the I-Connect007 team an overview of the latest news from DuPont Electronics and Imaging. Including investments toward the new production assets in Ohio, Silicon Valley Technology Center, and other facilities. He also details how the company is engaging OEMs and PCB fabricators and design teams, as well as some exciting business updates coming this spring and summer.
Patty Goldman: Thanks for joining us to discuss what is happening at DuPont Electronics and Imaging. Can you please tell us about yourself?
Andy Kannurpatti: I lead DuPont’s Interconnect Solutions business in the West, meaning the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. We’ve opened a new Silicon Valley Technology Center (SVTC) in Sunnyvale, California, which is where I am located. The SVTC is right in the heart of a lot of the new development going on—especially as it relates to high-speed, high-frequency electronics and automotive. This is a great place for us to be. We opened this facility in September 2018, and I moved to this role on October 1. I’ve been at DuPont for about 22 years in various roles from technical to manufacturing, marketing, and business, so this has been an exciting transition for me.
DuPont Interconnect Solutions focuses on addressing the needs of rigid and flex circuit designers and manufacturers. For our circuits customers, complementary products from our heritage DuPont and Dow businesses coming together allows us to deliver well-known products like Pyralux and Riston as well as support fabricators’ needs with industry-leading chemistry and plating solutions. Our team also serves industrial applications that use Kapton as well as industrial plating applications that use Dow chemistries. With the breadth of portfolio, we have an interesting perspective on our customers’ needs, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to help customers in these diverse segments.
Goldman: The reason we asked to speak with you is the recent press release that we published concerning a new facility that you’re building in the U.S. Please tell us about that.
Kannurpatti: It’s really exciting. What we announced is that we’re investing about $220 million to build new production assets in Circleville, Ohio. The driver for that is all of the growth that we expect our customers to see because there is increased demand for very high-reliability polyimide materials with the growth in high-speed, high-frequency applications in telecommunications, consumer electronics, and automotive. Beyond that, we’re looking at all the AI work that’s going on, not just in the autonomous driving, but with Industry 4.0, etc. Then, there’s also this whole area of flexible displays, and we certainly see a need there where we can contribute.
Our teams are working on a variety of products. So, when you look at all of that opportunity in total, it made a lot of sense for our business to request additional investment as the company focuses on how best to help customers in these markets. It is an exciting time to be involved in this growing electronics materials space.
Goldman: It certainly is a growing area. I was especially pleased to see that expansion was going on in the U.S. as opposed to somewhere else in the world. Not very many companies have done that recently. I’m curious if other locations were considered or if it was always going to be in the U.S.?
Kannurpatti: We look at a multitude of factors when deciding where to put additional assets. In this instance, we have a very strong R&D team in Circleville, Ohio, that has been working for many years on the types of materials that we use for these markets and applications. Plus, we also have a long history of producing polyimide film for various purposes at the Ohio site; we’ve produced Kapton there for over 60 years. There’s a wealth of information and expertise already there.
In our announcement, we also said we’re making concurrent investments in Taiwan because we recognize that we need to be close to Asia customers to deliver quickly products they need. So, we’re adding investments in Ohio, which is very exciting from a U.S.-based manufacturing standpoint, but we’re also are doing things that we need to in Taiwan.
Barry Matties: We are seeing a lot of technology companies moving into the Bay Area, especially around the automotive sector. Are you dealing more with OEMs or the manufacturers? Is there a shift in interest there?
Kannurpatti: That’s a great question, Barry. The simple, straightforward answer is we work both with OEMs and circuit fabricators. We feel the best way for us to continue to innovate is to be connected with specifiers of functionality, which tends to be the OEM. We also need to work with the rigid and flex circuit manufacturers because we can come up with the best material, but if the material is not easy to fabricate with, that doesn’t help, so we need to talk and work with both parties.
As you point out, the interaction in the Bay Area with participants in all of these new focus areas—especially as you think about autonomous driving and AI being embedded in many different applications—is very dynamic. Working closely with OEMs and manufacturers is critical.
Matties: We’re seeing a shift in the design community and the need for more collaboration early on—having circuit designers actually talk to material suppliers—so it’s not just the OEMs looking for functionality; it’s the designers too.
Kannurpatti: Absolutely. In the SVTC as well as across the globe, we have teams of engineers and scientists talking not only to OEMs but also to the circuit manufacturers. In both of those interfaces, our conversations are around the design, including how to put different materials or structures together.
This is especially important when you think about some of these higher-reliability applications that must last a long time or withstand high temperatures. A lot of testing has to happen during the design phase. So, naturally, we engage with designers early on.
To read the full article, which appeared in the April 2019 issue of Flex007 Magazine, click here.