Jul 27, 2012
Automotive components manufacturer diversifies business focusBack
Engineering|Natal|Port|Port Elizabeth|Pretoria|Africa|Components|Control Instruments Group|Conveyors|Industrial|Pi Shurlok|Projects|Safety|System|Africa|Americas|Asia|Europe|Germany|Japan|South Africa|Manufacturing Facility|Pi Shurlok’s Facility|Automotive|Automotive Electronic Components Manufacturer|Components Manufacturer|Contract Manufacturer|Equipment|Immediate Available Manufacturing Capacity|Manufacturing|Manufacturing Capacity|Manufacturing Costs|Nonautomotive Components Manufacturing Sector|Product|Products|Strict In-house Electromagnetic Compatibility Testing Equipment|Transport|Dion Hardy|Infrastructure|William Murray
© Reuse this
Pi Shurlok business development manager William Murray tells Engineering News that the company’s strategic move to diversify is in response to the global economic downturn in 2007 and 2008.
The economic crisis led to a slump in business and motivated the components manufacturer to reassess its focus on automotive components and branch out into the nonautomotive electronic components sector by becoming a contract manufacturer for a broader range of original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
Murray reports that the company’s focus on quality compliance and standards certifications throughout its manufacturing processes has enabled it to expand into the nonautomotive electronic components industry with ease.
“We have designed our engineering processes to be fully aligned with the procedures and practices of the various automotive OEMs. We have advanced product quality planning teams who are responsible for undertaking quality assessments, failure modes and effects analyses to help identify potential failures, based on similar past experiences and production-part approval process procedures,” he says.
Further, the company has strict in-house electromagnetic compatibility testing equipment to ensure that the products are not susceptible to outside influence and that they do not emit any electromagnetic influences.
The tests are based on automotive industry specifications as outlined by German safety monitoring agency TÜV and the German Association of the Automotive Industry, besides other specifications.
The lessons learnt from automotive industry specifications and Pi Shurlok’s lessons are applied to each new task being handled, says Murray.
The company’s OEM component supply currently constitutes about 60% of its business, with the balance being components supplied to the non-OEM automotive sector.
The manufacturer plans to reach an equal 50% ratio between its automotive OEM supply and its non-OEM supply by diluting the non-OEM supply with nonautomotive components.
“Pi Shurlok’s immediate available manufacturing capacity is 47% and, as a result of its existing and established infrastructure, new production programmes can be implemented in a short time with minimal investment,” says Hardy.
The low- to medium-volume manufacturer provides a niche supply of electronic components for domestic OEMs and eight international clients in Europe, the Americas and Asia, including Japan.
Pi Shurlok exports about half of its components to the international market.
There are four component production lines that populate circuit boards using component cassettes in a pick-and-place method. This is done by a fully automated or semi-automated system, depending on the component being manufactured.
Hardy notes that the more complex circuit boards manufactured by the company may contain more than 1 600 components each.
The automated production lines produce between 10 000 and 50 000 units a year, while the semi-automated lines produce up to 300 000 units a year.
Pi Shurlok’s facility follows lean manufacturing principles and a just-in-time delivery method, while the 220-strong staff complement follows the cell assembly structure.
The linear cell assembly structure places each staff member in charge of a range of tasks when moving between the cell structures and specific client instrument clusters.
This enables staff to acquire various skills, as well as familiarise themselves with the hardware, software, mechanical, illumination and visual aesthetic elements of the manufactured products.
Plastic Injection Moulding
Hardy notes that, previously, it was difficult and costly to import plastic components or transport them from the company’s plastic moulding facility in Port Elizabeth.
As a result, the manufacturer invested in a fully automated in-line plastic injection moulding plant to cater for the instrument cluster’s plastic-component needs.
Pi Shurlok was recently awarded a high-volume instrument cluster production programme by a large Pretoria-based automotive OEM.
“We are one of three global manufacturing sites for this new vehicle platform,” says Hardy.
The plastic injection moulding facility features individual automated dryers for each material type, a fully integrated material feeding system, robotics installed for the extraction of the moulded part, as well as conveyors.
The facility also features two 300 t KraussMaffei plastic-processing machines imported from Germany: one exclusively for use with polypropylene homopolymer materials and the other exclusively for use with polymethyl methacrylate materials.
He adds that the company, therefore, works in accordance with the IPC-A-610E inspection standard for the acceptability of electronic assemblies and the IPC 7711/7721 Rework, Modification and Repair of Electronic Assemblies Training and Certification Programme.
“For our own integrated projects, we have formal technical and commercial baseline management processes in place. These include design verification testing, acceptance test procedures and field trials, which use actual target vehicles and environments to test the components,” says Murray.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Automotive Industry News
Swedish vehicle manufacturer Volvo Car Group’s new XC90 sports utility vehicle (SUV) will offer an unrivalled combination of power and efficiency with a dual engine, when the CX90 is revealed later this year.
Updated 9 minutes ago Barclays Africa group company Absa, in partnership with the French Development Agency (FDA), was offering commercial businesses in South Africa an up to 7% rebate on loans of up to R100-million that are used to fund energy efficiency or renewable energy projects....
Updated 28 minutes ago A subsidiary of global engineering and construction company and power equipment supplier Foster Wheeler has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract for the electrical expansion and fuel gas superheater project aimed at...
Updated 39 minutes ago South African aerospace companies Aerosud and Denel Aerostructures (DAe) signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) with European major airliner company Airbus at the DAe plant at OR Tambo International Airport, in Kempton Park, on Tuesday. The MoU creates...
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
The board of UD Trucks Southern Africa (UDTSA) has announced the resignation of MD Jacques Carelse. Long-time UD employee, corporate planning and marketing GM, Rory Schulz, has been appointed as acting MD while the process started to appoint a new MD. The Japanese...
There is a need to start planning another pumped storage scheme in South Africa. Much work has already been done at a site in the Limpopo province and the project was very close to being put out to tender at one stage. In 2008/9 the National Energy Regulator of South...
The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) is preparing to leverage its strategic coastal position to develop the Eastern Cape economy through proposed aquaculture development zones (ADZs), with a proposed R2-billion project aiming to contribute $278-million to the...
Completion of the ongoing construction of the 102 km Zomba–Jali–Phalombe–Chitakale road, in southern Malawi, has been extended from June to December 15 because of persistent rains and difficulties in paying the contractor. The project is being undertaken by Kuwait's...
The Malawi government has awarded South African firm Fischer Consortium the contract to upgrade the Malawi Road Traffic Information System. The Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services at Malawi's Ministry of Transport and Public Works says Fischer...