rhydoLABZ started as distributors for SparkFun and Arduino, but now produce mostly their own custom open hardware designs. They’re currently India’s largest open hardware manufacturer, and we heard people call them the SparkFun of India throughout the trip. rhydoLABZ is targeting the global market though, not just India. Their team of engineers turns out code, documentation, and tutorials all in English.
Production is very similar to SparkFun and Seeed Studio. Solder paste is applied to PCBs through a stencil. Surface mount parts are then stuffed with the same pick and place Seeed uses, and soldered in a small reflow oven. A soldering team reworks any imperfections and mounts through hole parts.
Ian’s efforts to apply solder paste did not result in a job offer. More practice needed!
Unlike Bangalore, there’s no local PCB stuffing factories in Kochi. Thushar says it would be difficult to make small 50 to 100 piece batches if they didn’t do it in-house. On average they run the pick and place machine 3 hours per day, something to keep in mind before starting your own garage assembly line.
Products are photographed in the quintessential cardboard box light tent. Geek points +2!
There were some minor voltage sags while we visited. Thushar explained that they have about 1 hour of power outage per day, compared to 6 hours or more in other states. Unlike other parts of India, Kerala has lots of water and they use it for hydroelectricity. Water and relatively few power outages make it advantageous to manufacture here.
A huge thanks to rhydoLABZ for hosting us in Kochi, and everyone who met with us on the Geek Tour of India!
Starting next Monday we’ll live blog our attempts to source custom hardware in Shenzhen’s Hua Qiang Bei electronics market. Can we find something for you? Please let us know.