I selected EnCata after researching about 50 firms globally from Japan to San Diego. Eventually my decision was driven by the availability of in-house design and fabrication capabilities and by costs. While other firms may have one but not the others, EnCata has both under the same roof, which allowed me to prototype very quickly. You can literally walk from the engineering department to the manufacturing shop. It’s amazing.
The team at EnCata is skilled across the entire manufacturing spectrum, including electronic design, mechanical design, simulation, programming, DFM, and so forth. Their manufacturing capabilities are also broad rather than specialized, which is what you need for prototyping.
Cost-wise they are competitive with other locations, but you get what you pay for, in the sense that you will face some challenges. Travelling to Minsk is not as easy as to other locations and there are challenges (a visa in my case), but mostly the language, since English is not widely spoken. To me this was the biggest challenge. Also, since most parts must be imported, there is also a time, cost, and permit challenge here, since it takes time, money, and in some cases permits, to import components.
One of their best advantages is that they are committed to the project. They will get out of their way, every time, to support your project. I can honestly say they are really great. They really want to see you succeed and also want to succeed themselves. This will depend also on how committed you are to the project. One should not expect a project to progress fast while talking to them in remote. I think you really need to be on the ground in Minsk, overseeing things, and pushing the project. At least this was my experience. They are also quite accommodating and understanding, since I am not an easy person to work with – since I am very demanding – but they still put up with me, which speaks a lot for their patience (thank you Vadim! – and sorry for the pressure at times!)
Some manufacturing costs for prototyping can be a bit expensive there, e.g. milling, which I mitigated with off-shore milling services (China).
They are also a nice bunch of guys and girls to hang out with. They will show you their city, which is very lovely, and make you feel very welcome. They basically allow you into their house, which speaks a lot about their hospitality! I think I may have made some friends there too!
So, overall, I think my decision to work with EnCata was correct, and trust me, I did a ton of research, so you are benefiting my from work 😉
I wish to have another opportunity to work with them again.
Francesco Lo Conte
Piston Vault - https://pistonvault.com/
Quality of deliverable
Value for money
Fabrication of a large electromechanical appliance.