Raltron Electronics manufactures frequency management components and antennas. It was founded in 1983 and recently celebrated its thirty-fifth year in business.
Frequency components refer to crystals and crystal-based oscillators, and these components give precise clock signals to coordinate digital integrated circuits. Raltron employs roughly two hundred employees across its headquarters in Miami, Florida, its regional sales offices and logistics operations in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and China, and its production sites in Miami and China.
Raltron President Sasha Wolloch says that the company’s product mix has changed over time, but it can be split into three defined segments. There are the simple microprocessor crystal and clock oscillators, which are used widely in every branch of the electronics market. Second are the precision oscillators, phase lock loops and some board level products that are mostly used in telecommunications, transmissions, base stations, point-to-point radio links and instruments. Finally, there are passive components and antennas for wireless applications.
Wolloch says that Raltron “sells products for telecommunications, wireless applications, industrial applications, consumer, medical, [and] a little bit of automotive,” with the fastest-growing segments being in wireless applications such as utility metering and alarms, smart homes, Wi-Fi, GNSS and the like.
Wolloch says that the company’s status as a seller of both frequency components and antennas is very important. Antennas are a relatively new endeavor for Raltron, and it is trying to bring products specifically for customers that are making wireless applications. It is not yet a big factor in the antenna industry, but Wolloch says that business growth is going according to plan.
While the company is still making its name in the world of antennas, it has been in the frequency components industry for some time now. Wolloch says that this sector is informally split into two parts. Eighty percent of companies in this $3.5 billion-dollar global market will focus exclusively on low-end, simple microprocessor crystals, clock oscillators, and tuning fork crystals, while the other twenty percent will work solely on precision oscillators. Raltron sports a wide product range and is looking to succeed on both sides of the spectrum to stand out from the pack.
Having the product speak for itself is one thing, but Raltron is also no slouch in marketing itself to current and potential customers alike. Wolloch says that the best marketing strategy is being present in front of a customer, which underlines the importance of good relationships with sales representatives and distributors. In the last couple of years, Wolloch adds, there has been a bigger push to net larger distributors, and the company’s position has been improved with several notable names which will hopefully become finalized within the next quarter or two in 2019. Raltron also uses direct mailing campaigns to get the word out to targeted customer segments and also extends its presence to trade shows; in late 2018, the company had a showing at the Electronica show in Munich, Germany.
While Raltron has seen a great deal of growth recently, Wolloch admits that a challenge for the company is in penetrating large established customers. “One strategy is to try and engage with smaller, up-and-coming companies where an impact can be made with [Raltron’s] technologies, advising design people with new designs, and to hopefully grow as [the company’s] respective customers grow.”
Another challenge that has come with the growth of the company has been the need to gear more of its research and development effort toward North American and European companies, even though Raltron has a commitment that must be fulfilled globally. In 2018 Raltron added technical personnel and test and manufacturing equipment in Miami, Florida to cope with the increased demand for precision oscillators it has generated. The company has also added service personnel to its China offices to meet demand, but with this addition, comes the need for continued training, something that Wolloch says is being balanced reasonably well but is still very much a work in progress.
Entering the wireless components market and adding soft filters and the antenna line to its portfolio have been marked successes recently. A tremendous amount of capital, personnel, and marketing resources were spent to launch the antenna line, but after three to four years of starting from scratch and toiling as an unknown in this area, sizeable growth is being registered. A significant driving factor of the decision to move in this direction is the sway of the market toward wireless technology. Raltron looked to complement its crystal line with components that are advanced and subject to less price erosion.
In practically every part of the electronics industry, accelerated change is something with which companies must contend. The major shift toward wireless technology was tracked some five to six years ago by Raltron, and the company has taken the necessary steps to take advantage of this.
Wolloch notes that the electronics industry has been on a positive trajectory for the past two to three years. Raltron has ridden this wave, as 2018 saw 22 percent growth.
Throughout the past thirty-five years, the company has grown, and although there have been “moments of uncertainty, such as the 2001 dot-com bubble burst,” since then, it is “very solid and growing.” With the difficulties of the mid-2000s well behind it, Raltron has a great deal going for it on the horizon and much that it wants to give to both its customers and the industry.
As the first quarter of 2019 draws to a close, Sasha Wolloch says that Raltron Electronics will continue to ride the good momentum from its growth in 2018; coming up, there are a number of items in various stages of the approval process, and if market conditions allow it, this can be expected to continue into 2019, with Raltron anticipated to grow fifteen to twenty percent. Wolloch says that the company’s ambition is to double in size over the next three to five years, and preparation has been done to make this a reality.