Manufacturing

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Plextek’s manufacturing team will translate your ideas into robust, scalable, tested and approved designs.

Our PCB and mechanical teams are co-located to share data and allow an agile and responsive design process.

A few of the skills we employ

  • Creating manufacturable designs: We can contribute from concept phase onwards to implement manufacturable designs of appropriate cost and quality whilst considering and resolving conflicts with performance requirements.
  • Proven experience: Planned and implemented the manufacture and distribution of over 6 million units using off-shore manufacturing. As well as, low volume high value manufacturing in the UK for security/defence contractors. This includes providing cost-down savings.
  • Supplier selection and management: Detailed network of a range of suppliers that we can use to benefit our clients, ranging from additive manufacturing and demanding PCB technology through to high volume commercial plastic mouldings and metalwork.
  • Logistics: We anticipate and resolve customs, duty and tariff issues, including defence related export restrictions and the shipping of various battery types.
  • Environmental Legislation: Capable of managing and working to the requirements of processes such as, REACH, RoHS and other stringent manufacturing regulations.
  • Personal Ownership: Providing a single point of contact for all your manufacturing requirements with the knowledge to only involve the most appropriate colleagues, suppliers or third parties that best address our client’s requirements.
  • Technically challenging designs: Experienced in implementing challenging designs driven by size, functionality or cost.
  • Costs down: Appreciation of user requirements combined with knowledge of design and experience in commercial negotiations, allows us to reduce the cost of manufactured products, saving the customer money and increasing revenue.

Terry Warwick

Supply Chain Manager

“The Supply Chain is usually overlooked whenever a project idea starts off; however, it is at the initial design stage that this function can save a company the most time, effort and money in terms of suggesting the right vendors for their materials and expertise. Thus leading to a reliable source of known product support, on time supply at the right quality, and leveraging samples at the best agreed volume prices during the start-up and low volume prototype stages. All of these benefits can help bring a product to market as soon as possible, and provide timely materials for the product from the outset.”

Terry warwick, headshot

Medical Manufacturing

sanandco

A successful transfer to manufacturing is a prerequisite for a successful product. This is particularly true in fast moving and highly regulated markets such as medical.

Plextek are experienced in medical manufacturing from defining strategy through to off-shore manufacturing for customers worldwide. Our clients rely on our experience to reduce risks at transfer to manufacturing. As we are an independent consultancy, we are truly able to select suppliers that are most suited to our client’s requirements.

Plextek prefer to get the manufacturing team involved from the early product concept stages. This allows the best manufacturing strategy to be devised and the product design adjusted to match.

Experience in design and supply of high volume commercial products has taught Plextek the value of the early involvement of supply chain expertise. Early price negotiation during the design phase is essential to achieve best costs along with a good understanding of the implications of duty, tariffs and freight terms.

Similarly, questions regarding environmental legislations, such as RoHS, REACH and WEEE must be addressed during the design phase. On-going support for any obsolescence issues raised at this stage has proved essential to reducing potential risks and problems later into the manufacturing process.

Our manufacturing team’s appreciation of all aspects of a product’s design and functionality means that we also take the lead in tasks such as reliability, risk and FMECA analysis. This is combined with stress and life testing and then pre-approvals testing.

Plextek have the skills to undertake detailed design for manufacturing (DFM) reviews and make necessary changes to the design without degrading product functionality, for example, RF performance. This early analysis and rigorous testing smooths the path to successful volume manufacturing.

Reducing Supply Chain Risk

supply chain

In 2015, Plextek Ltd formally spun out Redtail Telematics, which provides turnkey vehicle telematics services to the fleet management and automotive insurance markets. Since 1993, Redtail have shipped more than six million tracking devices into line fit and aftermarket vehicles for stolen vehicle recovery. Redtail’s expertise in working collaboratively to answer challenging questions directs our efforts in working with OEMs to fulfil the potential of the connected vehicle, from line fit vehicle tracking with Mercedes Benz, through golf-cart battery health with Columbia Vehicle, to pothole detection with Jaguar Land Rover & Synaptiv.

A typical bill of materials (BOM) for one of our commercial or automotive high volume products includes details of as many as 600 to 1000 separate parts.

These typically include a printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) within a custom enclosure, pre-packed and ready for use. It only takes a single part from our BOM to be missing to stop production – losing revenue than cannot be recovered.

Plextek consider this risk during the design phase before final commitments are made to parts selection. Single source components are avoided wherever possible and effort is dedicated into finding or designing for alternatives. This includes discussing changes of specification with the final customer. Alternative sources also assist in component price negotiations. However, particularly with high frequency RF components, it is not always possible to design for the use of alternatives because of footprint design or subtle performance issues.

Custom parts with dedicated tooling, such as PCBs or mouldings, will, by their very nature, be single sourced. However, to reduce supply risks, we pride ourselves in developing a close technical and commercial relationship with these suppliers. Although not preferred, Plextek’s owned tooling could also be moved in if there is no other option.

Once production is established, Plextek invests time in maintaining supplier relationships, both globally and nationally. However, ultimately the decisions taken during the design phase rather than during supplier communications will determine the overall level of risk to on-going supply.

By adopting this approach of reducing supply chain risk, Plextek have successfully delivered over 6 million units to a number of customers worldwide and have achieved agreed “cost-down” savings to the benefit of our customers.

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