Jul 27, 2012
Automotive components manufacturer diversifies business focusBack
Natal|Port|Port Elizabeth|Pretoria|Africa|Components|Control Instruments Group|Conveyors|Design|Engineering|Industrial|Pi Shurlok|Projects|Safety|System|Testing|Training|transport|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|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
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online
To subscribe email email@example.com or click here
To advertise email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here
Other Automotive News
Technology and manufacturing solutions provider RocTool last month launched its RocTool Performance Cooling (RPC) unit to complement its induction heating process for plastic injection and composites processes. “This is in keeping with the work that has been done by...
Updated 7 minutes ago Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani expected 2016 to be the most challenging year for the mining industry, stressing in a copy of a speech delivered at the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba, in Cape Town, on Monday, that things could get worse before getting better. He...
Updated 50 minutes ago Gold-mining company Acacia Mining is looking to go beyond Tanzania into Kenya and West Africa. Acacia CEO Brad Gordon told the Investing in African Mining Indaba that the company’s growth had stemmed from a focus on business fundamentals, people and relationships.
Updated 2 hours 8 minutes ago The 50 MW Khi Solar One concentrated solar power plant near Upington in the Northern Cape has started commercial operation. The plant is operated and maintained by Spanish technology group Abengoa, which owns 51% of the project, with the Industrial Development...
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2016: A review of South Africa's construction industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2016 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; key participants; local demand; geographic diversification; corporate activity; black economic...
Energy Roundup – February 2016 (PDF Report)
The February 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for December 2015 and January 2016 and includes details of a Government Gazette notice that confirms Cabinet’s decision to move ahead with the 9 600 MW nuclear procurement programme; State-owned power...
Energy Roundup - December 2015 (PDF Report)
The December 2015 roundup includes details of State-owned utility Eskom’s application to claw back R22.8-billion; South Africa’s ranking as an investment destination for renewable energy; and a nuclear expert’s thoughts on reactor designs for South Africa’s nuclear...
Water 2015: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others.
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
This Week's Magazine
Power and automation company ABB is in the launch phase of its highest payload, multipurpose industrial robot, the IRB 8700. The robot has a reach of 3.5 m and can handle a payload of up to 800 kg. “When designing the IRB 8700, we emphasised reach and payload, as...
Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a critical facet of a connected security ecosystem, as controlling the confidentiality, integrity and authorisation of data access and use is key to securing new digital business channels. However, companies face several...
Data underpins digital business models, the digital economy, the Internet of Things and the fundamental changes in the ways people interact and protecting data is crucial to securing new ways of doing business, says T-Systems South Africa information and...
The City of Cape Town will issue a tender for the procurement of electric buses for its MyCiTi service, in line with the council’s commitment to lower its carbon footprint, says executive mayor Patricia de Lille. The tender, to be advertised early in February, will...
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority signed a R10-million contract last month with local tailings storage facility specialists Cyclone Engineering Projects to remove about 100 000 m3 of dredge spoil obstructing the natural course of the uMfolozi river, in...