We have invested in new warehouse facilities to support the expansion of the gaming side of the business!!
October 5, 2018
Panasonic CM602L high speed chip shooter has just arrived and is awaiting installation!
This new Service Mount machine has a placement rate of 100 thousand components per hour taking our capacity to 300 thousand placements per hour
July 6, 2018
Almost everyone would agree that the industry must embrace the shift into the digital era. It has definitely been a hot topic within the industry for a while now – and for good reason too. It is vital that we adopt the latest digital technologies if we are to stay up to speed with the rest of industry globally.
In order to get the most out of the latest digital technologies, it is important we invest time and money into discovering the best ways to utilise it.
There has been an increasing demand into ‘smart’ manufacturing processes that can provide data in real-time. This is something being increasingly seen in Air Products and other similar products within the industry.
Therefore it is important we do not simply adopt every latest technology for the sake of it, and need to ensure that the new technology addresses a specific need. It needs to provide a tangible value to the manufacturing service that can be measured by its efficiency, sustainability or productivity.
But what’s the best way to do this? Increased investment into R&D. Making this as a key focus, coupled with greater investment is a winning recipe to better understand digital technology.
There is still a lack of confidence within the UK industry to adopt the latest technologies in comparison to other countries. This was reflected in the latest Annual Manufacturing Report, which showed that other countries are more receptive to new tech.
This lack of trust stems from an incorrect assumption that the digital era spells the end of the manufacturing industry. Rather than view it as a revolution, we should view it as a positive evolution that can help propel the industry to greater things.
The processes of the manufacturing industry will remain largely the same, technology will simply streamline them, making them more efficient, saving time and money.
For it to work, it also important that everyone collaborates together. There is a responsibility for the government in a leadership role to bring industry bodies and voices together but to also speed up the process of collaboration between SME’s and suppliers.
We are often afraid of sharing information and knowledge with the fear of giving competitors the edge. But we don’t have to give away company secrets in order to plan dedicated events, sharing knowledge on forums or working together on projects.
With the collective brain power of the industry united with a common goal of digital integration, we are far more likely to see a successful evolution into the next era of the industry.
It is important that we embrace digital sooner rather than later. With it being such a fast paced industry, if we do not act now we are in danger of falling even further behind. It is critical we embrace technology and adopt more of a pioneering mindset instead of having to play catch up with other countries.
June 20, 2018
The last industrial revolution was driven by coal from South Wales, and it might be time for the next big push from Wales in the form of the compound semiconductor.
Back in 1982 a semiconductor fabrication facility was built and opened near Newport in South Wales. The 8,900m2 single story
building was originally a microprocessor facility for Inmos, but it soon changed hands passing from Thorn EMI then to STMicroelectronics, who used it to produce SRAM and other products.
International Rectifier then acquired the site in 2005 and used it as a R&D and manufacturing centre until Infineon bought the facility, and the company, in 2015.
The original development had promised thousands of new highly skilled jobs and placements for apprentices but over the years failed to deliver. Today, however, the site is home to Newport Wafer Fab and this facility is at the heart of what is being described by local politicians, academics and businessmen as the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster, or CS Connected.
CS Connected can be described as an umbrella organisation that represents organisations that are associated with research and development, innovation and manufacturing of compound semiconductor related technologies as well as those companies involved in the extended supply chain.
Almost a year since the decision to support this initiative was agreed Dr Drew Nelson, CEO of IQE, an established leader in the development and manufacture of advanced semiconductor wafer products, believes that the efforts of business, policy makers and academics are bearing fruit and helping to turn this part of South Wales into a world leader in the development and application of compound semiconductors.
“IQE has been at the forefront of this industry for a quarter of a century,” says Nelson. ”The wafer products we produce are used by companies around the world to produce the chips they need to support a wide range of high tech applications including wireless, photonics, infrared, power and solar.”
“The UK and Wales, in particular, already have a wealth of industrial and academic expertise in advanced semiconductor technologies that encompasses companies like IQE, SPTS and Newport Wafer Fab. But we also have a strong research and development ecosystem. CS Connected is about bringing them closer together.Speaking at an event organised and held earlier this year in central London to talk about developments in the compound semiconductor space in South Wales, Nelson said that compound semiconductors were, “Helping to define new technologies and that Wales was well positioned to play a leading role in this high tech industry sector.
Those who see compound semiconductors as crucial in enabling and supporting future generation technologies, believe that this rapidly emerging cluster in South Wales could place the region at the forefront of the next industrial revolution. As a consequence CS Connected, which has been driven in part by IQE and Cardiff University, has not only the backing of both the Welsh Government and the UK Government through Innovate UK but also includes a growing number of businesses such as SPTS and Microsemi.
Other key bodies in the development of the hub include the Institute for Compound Semiconductors, the ESPRC Compound Semiconductor Hub and the Compound Semiconductor Centre as well as the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult.
The region is aiming to become Europe’s first major cluster for firms developing compound semiconductors and is looking to attract private investment of almost £400million, in turn creating 2000 skilled jobs in the process.
At the end of last year IQE, the Welsh and UK governments, ratified the development of the Compound Semiconductor Foundry which will provide crucial support in the development of the CS Connected cluster.
So just what are compound semiconductors? Well, they are crucial to many of the devices that we take for granted today but which are having a profound impact on the way in which people live.
Whether in smartphones or in satellites, compound semiconductors are set to play an increasingly important role especially in the kind of technologies that are set to dominate the landscape in coming years, whether that’s robotics, electric vehicles, wearable technology or the infrastructure to support 5G cellular networks.
Compound semiconductors will have a crucial role to play because not only can they process things faster than silicon, but they are more versatile and sensitive.
Working exactly like silicon chips, they are able to offer much higher levels of performance – being up to 100 times faster – hence their importance when it comes to high speed communications.
They also offer much better power efficiency and a wide range of optical properties for emitting and receiving light.
They can certainly be described as a revolutionising technology.
June 15, 2018
Advanced manufacturing company, Plura Innovations has been granted £350k funding from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) to extend their facilities in Wirral.
The company develops products made from composite materials and recycled plastics and has, up until recently, used China for the majority of it’s production.
The £350k investment by NPIF is part of a larger £1m funding package for Plura Innovations, which supplies products to customers including Network Rail, Royal Mail and UK Power Networks.
Plura was founded in 2013 and is led today by managing director Andrew Wright and co-directors Graeme Pringle, Colin Laidlaw and Greg Parkin. The firm has a turnover of £1.2m but expects that figure to double this year.
Andrew Wright said: “Bringing our manufacturing back to the UK brings production closer to what will be our largest market and also cuts costs. We can also control the raw materials better as they are more readily available and much better quality here.
“Our products include innovative security fencing made from lightweight composite materials which are very safe to use as they don’t conduct electricity.”
“This is really important particularly to companies that have workers on sites and members of the public nearby, where there is a high risk of electrocution such as in the rail and power sectors.
“We needed funding to enable us to increase our manufacturing capacities and capabilities and invest in live testing sites so that we can demonstrate the products to potential customers.”
Source: The Manufacturer
June 6, 2018
There is always a the risk that we can overuse the word ‘inspiring’ in the manufacturing industry – Rode Heath Primary School, however, are really giving us plenty of opportunity to use it with their introduction of ‘tinkering’.
Julie Wiskow, a Science Lead at Rode Heath, has seen 30% of students wanting to pursue careers in the engineering industry since she introduced ‘tinkering’ into the classroom.
‘My passion for engineering started when I took part in a MOOC (massive open online course) run by the Exploratorium Museum in San Francisco, which I discovered via Twitter (@TinkeringStudio).’
‘I spent part of my 2015 summer holiday learning how to ‘tinker’ – playing with paper circuits, making scribbling machines and experimenting with conductive thread. I was quickly hooked and couldn’t wait to try out some of these activities on my new class.’
Thinking with your hands
‘That same September, along with my Year 3 colleague John Randall, I joined the Tinker Tailor Robot Pi project led by Lynne Bianchi of Manchester University.’
‘This project was in its second year and involved like-minded teachers from schools in the Greater Manchester area.’
‘We were working together to introduce ‘Engineering Habits of Mind’ (EHoM) to children, through the notion of ‘tinkering’ – what I like to think of as ‘thinking with your hands’. It fitted in very well with the work I had been doing over the summer.’
‘As part of the project, we began to hold ‘tinkering’ sessions with our Year 3 and 4 children at Rode Heath. This involved presenting them with a series of practical activities, which had a defined engineering output.’
‘The children were not only actively problem solving, but also learning to adapt and refine their designs as a matter of course – skills that are very relevant to the rest of the curriculum.’
‘After a relatively short time, the children were beginning to use some of the habits learned through their tinkering in other areas of the curriculum, particularly related subjects like science and computing.’
‘They were much more willing to unpick and start again if something was not working successfully. Also, starting with a blank sheet of paper and having the resilience to problem solve creatively was becoming less frightening. Indeed, many children who struggled in other areas of the curriculum shone while tinkering – a great way of boosting their confidence.’
May 30, 2018
Industry-ready graduates of engineering can be a vital part of an organisation. To have someone that can come in and very quickly contribute to a company are very highly sought-after. Judith Shawcross discusses the approach developed by the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering.
The effect of new staff who can quickly contribute are especially important to small and medium-sized businesses as, for these businesses in particular, it can be difficult to provide a training structure or development program.
Two key aspects of developing industry readiness are preparing graduates to solve real, rather than academic problems, and giving them experience of a range of industrial working environments.
Undertaking multiple projects based in different companies has been found to be successful in developing students’ skills, experience and confidence, and for the host companies, projects have often delivered value in terms of new insights or proposals.
Solving real problems
There are many differences between academic problems and practical workplace problems.
Academic problems are generally well formulated, come with all the necessary data and have one right answer. In the workplace, however, problems are typically messy, have incomplete or conflicting data as well as multiple potential answers.
These real-world problems require different skills, such as framing the problem, generating a range of potential solutions and being able to systematically evaluate which solution is the best fit for the situation, taking into account financial, resource as well as engineering considerations.
Teaching workplace skills in a university setting is challenging because skills are context-specific and not easily transferable. Consider making a cup of tea.
Making tea in a kitchen requires a completely different skill set to the skills required for making tea in a forest where, among other things, you may need to build and light a fire.
In a university environment we have been able to simulate some aspects of solving real problems while working in teams, including group exercises solving problems related to factory layouts and locations, as well as improving assembly and operational efficiency.
However, doing this in a real company setting, interacting with a range of people and having to deliver useful insights in a short time frame enables more skills to be developed related to working with other people, making sense of an unfamiliar situation, thinking from different stakeholder perspectives and working out how to analyse real data to generate evidence-based insights.
Students on the Institute for Manufacturing’s Industrial Systems, Manufacture and Management (ISMM) Master’s programme take part in four industry projects throughout their course, giving them the opportunity to develop new skills and confidence in an industrial context.
In a typical year, the ISMM team coordinate around 80 projects with companies that vary considerably in terms of size and the sectors they operate in. Projects are also part of the IfM’s undergraduate programme.
Source: The Manufacturer
May 23, 2018
In order to meet the demands of new contract wins, here at Able Contract Electronics, we have added a further 20,000sqft of manufacturing space by taking over an attached unit and annexing to the main electronics production area. This area is primarily for final assembly of its customers products and allows for future growth as the company expands.
Our Managing Director, Steve Davies, comments: “in addition to our main electronics production area we are delighted to have the additional space to finish our customer’s products”. Steve goes on to say “we have also first option on a further 20,000sqft to cope with our planned growth, this will provide a factory space of total 60,000sqft. That allows us to look at larger assemblies including displays, metalwork, plastics etc. that many of our competitors would struggle to offer”.
The next stage of the growth cycle will be adding to our surface mount capital equipment. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for further updates.
May 23, 2018
We are extremely pleased to announce that, here at Able Contract Electronics, we have recently doubled our workforce in order to meet increasing demand for our manufacturing services. Recent contract wins from Telecoms, Medical and Gaming industry clients has seen a need to expand our workforce and take the business to new heights.
Our Managing Director, Steve Davies, is delighted to be providing skilled employment opportunities in an area that has been hit hard by other large electronic manufacturers relocating to lower cost locations. Commenting, Steve said “South Wales has traditionally had a strong electronics manufacturing presence and Able Contract Electronics is fortunate to be in a position to utilise the skills base built over many years”
Steve goes on to say “we are now looking at a growth platform that will include new capital investment and additional factory space”.
The jobs created are in surface mount machine programming and operation, PCB assembly, final product assembly and test.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more updates!
May 10, 2018
Here at Able Contract Electronics, we pride ourselves on being a trustworthy business partner and electronic manufacturer. Choosing an electronics manufacturer is a big commitment as it will usually involve a large order being placed, so choosing the right business is key.
There is always a few different things to consider when looking at the reliability of an electronics manufacturer. This article should help you to understand the key things to look for to differentiate between who is trustworthy, and who isn’t.
During your research of your potential manufacturer, key points to consider are:
Experience in the industry and reputation.
Considering a manufacturer that has plenty of experience is always a good sign of trustworthiness. This should ensure that the work they do for you is to the best quality. Able Contract Electronics was established in 2006 which makes us a very well established business in the market. Client reviews are also extremely important.
The manufacturer that you choose should be able to deliver on the project that you put to them and within the time frame that you require. Viewing their facilities and asking about their commitment to advancing the technology at their disposal is a clear sign as to whether they can deliver.
Source: UK Electronics