Carlier Prototype Engineering’s business location is Aan de Ragestraat 53A, Zottegem, Belgium. Mr Christ Carlier, director and owner of CPE (http://www.c-p-e.be/home/) recently visited PIEK together with some staff members and gladly agreed to this interview.
PIEK: could you tell us something about your company, please?
Christ Carlier: ‘Our company was established in 2004. We are basically a design house with production capacity. We develop products for third parties and can also make prototypes and series. Our main design focus is on designing electronic circuit layout, drawing printed circuit boards, finishing a product and developing prototypes and product series.
We invest heavily in technology. Our laboratory is kitted out with the most advanced equipment, and there is an EMC lab on the basis of a GTEM cell, a climate box, IR camera, etc. For making prototypes and production series, we make use of a complete SMD line and of four ovens, one for each specialisation. We are able to do X-ray, and also 3D and slicing.
And for repair we are using a state-of-the art Finetech machine.
We work very closely with our customers, most of whom are small high-tech firms offering the latest technology to their customers. We take care of the technical side for these firms, while they do the marketing of the finished products.’
PIEK: How do customers find out about you?
Mr Carlier proceeds: ‘Our website has not been renewed since 2005. Customers are referred to us by word of mouth, which works really well for us. They discover that we have a wide range of services for them, that our laboratory and production facility are state of the art and that our employees are all IPC certified. The total solution that we can therefore provide is irresistible for our customers.’
PIEK: How have you heard about PIEK?
Mr Carlier says: ‘My philosophy is that all my employees have to have at least 10 days of training every year. I have known PIEK for a fairly long time and I know they can offer all IPC certifications. In my choice for PIEK I weigh three factors very heavily: a good infrastructure, the most-up-to-date knowledge and excellent instructors. PIEK ticks all three boxes. Every staff member of ours has to be IPC certified, and to achieve this a PIEK instructor pays a one-week visit to us every year and certifies or recertifies our employees. Apart from this, we also visit PIEK for the same purpose, like we do today. For me IPC certification is hugely important, as it opens doors. It makes us acquire orders from the defence industry and the automotive sector. All our employees’ certificates hang on a so-called Wall of Fame. This is how important we feel they are. I myself have all IPC certifications. And together with all my staff I celebrate the certifications with a glass of champagne every single year.’
PIEK: We also provide other services, such as the PIEK courses and consultancy. What is your opinion about this?
‘We also make regular use of the PIEK courses, such as the ESD courses, but consultancy is something that we still have to explore. We do have regular contacts with PIEK’s instructors and vice versa. This is when we discuss cases and issues, and we help each other. One example is that we created a PCB for PIEK, with which the instructors could practise themselves and which they could use in their courses.’
PIEK: What can you tell us about your customers?
‘We prefer to work with customers located close to us, but we also have customers in Amsterdam and elsewhere abroad. Most of our customers are based in our region, and luckily West Flanders and East Flanders are teeming with small high-tech firms. Doing business in East Flanders is very pleasant, because you can trust a person on his word without having to lay everything down in a contract. That is what I personally like very much.’
PIEK: When you talk to others, would you recommend PIEK to them?
Mr Carlier: ‘I already thought you would ask me that. Of course I would. PIEK has the expertise we are looking for, the infrastructure and the instructors who all have a passion for their job. In all the years that we have worked with PIEK, we have been taught by instructors with a great drive, commitment and experience.’
PIEK: Are there any other things on your mind with regards to PIEK?
‘We always enjoy going to PIEK for a course, especially because we also meet employees of other companies there and we can relate to and discuss each other’s business processes and problems. This exchange of ideas is very rewarding. And in the evenings, over dinner, we can get even better acquainted, which is very nice, by the way.’
PIEK thanks Christ Carlier for the interview and wishes him an enjoyable and fruitful week with PIEK.