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In December 2016, a colleague of mine asked me if I was available to attend a meeting the following month with CML Global Solutions, a provider of printed circuit board (PCB) sourcing solutions and a new partner of the Hinrich Foundation. At that time, I was not sure whether I should join because I was busy with several matters. I’m glad now that I decided to join the meeting.

On Jan. 18, 2017, together with CEO Kathryn Dioth, Program Director Alex Boome and other Hinrich Foundation team members, I visited the brand-new office of CML in Hung Hum, Hong Kong. My first impression when we entered the premises was WOW! It was one of the most elegant offices I have ever seen in my life.

An unforgettable tour of a PCB factory in Shenzhen, China 1
Hinrich Foundation team members visit CML’s office in Hung Hom, Hong Kong.

The meeting with CML Managing Director Daniel Jacob and other representatives of the company was enlightening. It was the first time I learned about the existence and extensive use of printed circuit boards (PCBs) in our daily lives. The meeting aroused my curiosity about PCBs and led me to ask a lot of questions. My curiosity was satisfied to a large extent, but there were still some things I wanted to know and understand.

Luckily, I did not have to wait long for an opportunity to learn more about PCBs. In cooperation with CML, Hinrich Foundation scholars on March 28, 2017, visited one of CML’s suppliers, Gainbase, which is based in Shenzhen, China, to help them better understand how PCBs are produced and their importance in today’s world.

The day started with the Hinrich Foundation scholars meeting the CML representatives at the Shenzhen train station at 9 a.m. We were driven to Gainbase’s factory and then escorted to the meeting hall where the CML and the Gainbase teams briefed us about the CML’s mission, activities and the PCB manufacturing process.

An unforgettable tour of a PCB factory in Shenzhen, China 2
Gainbase Manager Ivan Wong tells Hinrich Foundation scholars about PCBs.

As most of the scholars were learning about PCBs for the first time, they were very excited and curious about the manufacturing process and its use in various appliances. It was interesting to know that the functions of our electronic gadgets are largely dependent on the PCBs used and the method of producing electronic circuits.

An unforgettable tour of a PCB factory in Shenzhen, China 3
CML, Gainbase and HF team members have lunch together.

A Q&A session followed the briefing, and then the team went to a nearby Chinese restaurant for lunch.

We toured the factory after lunch, accompanied by the factory manager and the CML team. Throughout the tour, the other scholars and I were fascinated with the high-tech machinery, skilled manpower and the level of quality awareness among the staff.

An unforgettable tour of a PCB factory in Shenzhen, China 4
Gainbase Manager Ivan Wong explains PCB manufacturing technology to Hinrich Foundation scholars.

The tour also included a visit to the s.m.a.r.t. knowledge center, which enables fast and flexible production, testing and validation, and training and education.

An unforgettable tour of a PCB factory in Shenzhen, China 5
Hinrich Foundation scholars visit the s.m.a.r.t. knowledge center.

After a day spent learning and understanding about PCBs and their importance, it was time for us to say good bye. The Hinrich Foundation scholars wholeheartedly thanked the CML and Gainbase representatives for organizing such an educational tour and accommodating the visit despite their busy schedule.

The experience has given me a greater understanding and appreciation of PCBs and the work that goes into making them. I again thank the Hinrich Foundation, CML and Gainbase for allowing us to tour the factor and expand our knowledge.

An unforgettable tour of a PCB factory in Shenzhen, China 6
Hinrich Foundation scholars and CML representatives get together at the main entrance of Gainbase.

About the author – Gabish Joshi

An unforgettable tour of a PCB factory in Shenzhen, China 7

Gabish Joshi is studying Master of Science in Supply Chain and Logistics Management at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University after being awarded the Hinrich Foundation Global Trade Leader Scholarship in 2016 . He worked for the Foundation for four years in various capacities before deciding to pursue further study in Hong Kong.