This issue covers:
- Importance of UK CEMs highlighted
- Report highlights safety risks of counterfeit products
- HAL helps control panels meet performance standards
- Illegal plugs warning
- JRC report on vacuum cleaners
- China boosts it electronics sector
- Electronics expansion in India
Contract electronics manufacturers have an increasingly important role to play in the UK’s manufacturing sector, whether that is in supporting volume production or new and emerging businesses looking to take new products from concept to volume assembly.
So says a report from the Electronic Components Supply Network (ECSN), which says that the CEM sector in the UK and Ireland now, in terms of demand, accounts for more than 40% of all electronic components by value.
However, it is a sector in which companies are facing increased competition and, as a result, they have to be smarter and faster in order to manage ever more demanding customers. However, the ECSN says that CEMs need to understand the potential provided by Industry 4.0 or the Industrial Internet of Things.
The concept of the smart factory, which is at the heart of Industry 4.0, aims to have everything imaginable connected to a network that is capable of storing, transferring, analysing and acting upon information gleaned from a network of connected machines, control systems and sensors.
“In my opinion, much of what we call Industry 4.0 has been embedded within Western companies’ ERP systems for decades,” suggests Adam Fletcher, chairman of ECSN. “But what we are seeing today is the unleashing of its true capabilities. It will not be achieved quickly, nor at low cost; many high volume manufacturers of components already use very sophisticated automated manufacturing systems to produce semiconductors, passive components and connectors in high volumes.
“You can point to numerous examples where complex ERP systems are being used in high volume product assembly; from vehicle assembly and petro-chemicals to food processing.” The full article is available here
Electrical Safety First has released a new report as part of its campaign to highlight the safety risks posed by counterfeit products.
The report, A Shocking Rip-Off: The True Cost of Counterfeit Products, says that a million people consciously purchased fake products in 2015, but warns that the true figure is likely to be significantly higher, as many others will have unknowingly bought fake goods.
The market for counterfeit goods in the UK is conservatively estimated at £1.3 billion per year, with approximately £900 million of this being used to fund organised crime. But the report highlights not just the financial cost of fakes but also the physical risks they pose to consumers.
“Counterfeiters have become increasingly sophisticated”, explains Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First. “With some, it is now only really possible to confirm if the product is ‘real’ or fake by checking the components inside – which is obviously not a viable option for most consumers, or something we would recommend them undertaking.
“We found that the key reason counterfeits are sold so cheaply is that there are ‘shortcuts’, leaving out or using substandard and fake electronic components which can significantly impact on the product’s safety, as well as its functionality.”
However, as well as fake electrical products for consumers, the Charity’s investigation found strong anecdotal evidence of high levels of fake plugs and fuses infiltrating the market.
ESF uses the report to make a number of recommendations for manufacturers and retailers, government and the general public.
These include calls for increased collaboration between manufacturers, retailers and enforcement agencies to share intelligence and expertise; government to ensure enforcement agencies and local government have the resources to deal with the problem; and consumers to be made aware of the real dangers of counterfeit electrics and how to spot them.
A copy of the report is available here.
Advanced technology electrical test equipment is helping a specialist manufacturer of electrical wiring harnesses and control panels for diesel engine applications demonstrate compliance with rigorous industry standards.
The North East manufacturing operations of CMR UK has extended its electronic control panel test capability with the purchase of a new Seaward HAL 104 multi-function electrical safety tester.
The HAL 104 combines the performance of a multi-function production line safety tester with load and power factor measurement for component and assembly energy consumption and ratings assessments.
For CMR UK the new tester is primarily being used to provide HV dielectric testing and insulation resistance measurement on panel assemblies to endure electrical safety standards compliance with both BIS and IEC requirements, as well as Marine Classification Society regulations.
At CMR special ‘SwitchSmart’ technology enables the HAL 104 to connect to pairs of conductors successively in a 3 phase system (L1, L2, L3 and Earth). The software then follows an automatic procedure of testing for both dielectric withstand and insulation resistance to channel the test voltage between different conductors to ensure good insulation between all phases and earth.
The complete HAL package is driven by specialist Safety e-Base Pro software, which enables fully customisable test sequences to be set up and operated via a PC from any safe and convenient location.
Rick Charles, Technical Projects Manager at CMR said: “The new test instrumentation and expanded test capability provides exceptional levels of flexibility and functionality, which has dramatically improved the quality and efficiency of the panel assembly testing undertaken by the CMR technical team.”
Incorporating AC/DC Hipot (flash/dielectric strength), the tester can perform load and power functional tests, insulation, ground/earth bond testing to 40A, load testing to 16A with leakage measurement to 20mA. Details at www.seaward.co.uk/hal-series
A Facebook post has gone viral after warning of the dangers of illegal electrical plugs fitted to popular Christmas presents.
Jim Perry wrote the post, which was accompanied by a picture of one of the offending plugs, saying that he hoped his advice 'might just save someone you love'. It has since received almost 10,000 likes and has been shared more than 20,000 times.
Jim pointed out the faults with the plug and how they were illegal. He said: “There is no fuse fitted to the plug which offers no protection against shorting out or overheating, secondly the pins are too close to the outer case which could possibly electrocute you if removing from a socket, and finally you can see how the earth pin is partially sheathed (the top one) this offers next to no earth connection at all.”
He also explained that although the plugs come with a CE Mark on them, this is not a sign of conformity to the British electrical regulations, as all plugs being used in Britain must have the British Standards Mark BS1363 printed on them.
Jim’s final advice was to cut off the plugs without the BS1363 mark and fit a new plug with the relevant sized fuse. The full story is here
The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published its assessment of the 2017 Ecodesign requirements for minimum durability of vacuum cleaner hoses and motors.
The JRC conducted a Life Cycle Assessment of a bagged canister vacuum cleaner as well as a literature review. The product was assessed for potential changes in manufacturing, repair, maintenance, and energy consumption over a projected 10 year lifetime.
The JRC report concluded that extending the lifetime of vacuum cleaners could bring both environmental and economic benefits in many of the scenarios considered.
The report also emphasised enhanced reparability and suggested this could be achieved both by different design and by better availability of information and tools for the repair and/or replacement of some components. But they also stressed the importance of consumers making proper use of their appliances and the need for proper maintenance and repair. Details at http://www.amdea.org.uk/the-life-of-vacuum-cleaners/
A new fund has been established to support China’s electronics supply chain. The country’s technology regulator said that it would cooperate with a bank to set up a new $30 billion fund to support the country’s electronics supply chain.
The fund is to be created through a partnership between an industry group controlled by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and Ping An Bank.
The creation of the new fund underscores China’s ambitions to expand its tech capabilities and also signals how those ambitions are being threatened by slowing growth and recent market turmoil.
Reports about the new fund said it would be used to build a “strong manufacturing country” and an “Internet power.” The report also said that the fund was being created to address problems faced by small and medium enterprises that have come under pressure or folded recently because of a lack of funding.
The new fund seems to resemble a separate multibillion-dollar fund, announced in 2014, to provide financing and enable acquisitions to increase the size and sophistication of the country’s semiconductor industry. The full report is available here
The Indian Government has approved the fifth greenfield electronics manufacturing cluster, to be set up in Raipur at an investment of Rs 89 crore, for making mobile phones, solar LEDs and consumer electronics products.
"The new EMC to be set up by Chhattisgarh State Industrial Development Corporation has been approved," Additional Secretary, Department of Electronics and IT, Ajay Kumar said.
The EMC, to be spread over a 69.98 acre area would house an eco-system to support production of electronic products.
The government plans to set up 200 EMC across the country under the National Policy on Electronics 2012. The Department of Electronics and IT (Deity) has already given in-principle approvals to 17 greenfield EMCs. Full story is here
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