CONFLICT MINERALS – 3TG
3TG is the term for the “conflict minerals” tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, all of which can be found in electrical components and machinery.
In 2012, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruled that companies who file reports with SEC are required to publicly disclose their use of “conflict minerals” which originate from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or surrounding areas which are “necessary to the functionality or production” of products that they manufacture or contract to be manufactured.
Although Tenkay Electronics are not subject to the SEC rules and do not file reports with the SEC, we understand that some of our customers do have legal obligations regarding “conflict minerals” and we support them, as well as supporting the humanitarian goal of ending violent conflict.
While the SEC was proposing this new legislation, we were in talks with our customers to understand the implications this would pose for them and to assess how we could support them once it came into force. Because we are committed to the responsible sourcing of “conflict minerals” throughout our supply chain we can help our customers by providing them with the information and supporting evidence they require.
May 2015 will be the first year that filing “undeterminable” is no longer accepted. So if you need a manufacturing partner who can support you with this, via their own thorough supply chain audits, please contact us.
Many companies are beginning to realise that today’s supply chain demands mean that offshoring production isn’t as great as it once was. Originally moved to countries such as China, India and the Philippines to reduce costs, businesses are now seeing their cost savings narrow, due in part to escalating labour costs, as well as environmental and political risks.
Together with the often hidden costs of shipping, holding greater stock levels because of increased lead times and stock in transit, to name a few, questions not what you are gaining from being so far removed from the production process but what you are losing. This presents the opportunity to relocate.
As more and more businesses turn their attention to manufacturing quality and control, and with greater automation reducing the reliance on ‘cheap’ labour, the focus is shifting towards reshoring and nearshoring. As the names suggest, reshoring brings manufacturing back to the UK (or the country of origin) and nearshoring relocates the manufacturing to a closer geographical location.
The key advantages of reshoring or nearshoring are:
- Reduced lead times
- Lower freight costs
- Improved customer service and communication – eliminating the time zone and language barriers speeds up issue reporting to hours rather than days
- Better quality control and consistency
- Import duty and tax benefits
- Fewer supply disruptions
All of these factors improve efficiency, which in turn can save you time and money, while improving quality.
A STRONG STEADY PULSE FOR TENKAY
Designed for low power consumption the Iemme Plus 14 convection reflow oven is a welcome addition to Tenkay’s fully automated lead free P.C.B surface mount line. Replacing the Novastar 7 zone reflow oven, the Iemme Plus 14 comes complete with a 12 heating zones and 2 cooling zones.
The mid sized convection oven will sit in-line with Tenkay’s Blundell Ipulse M4e, the Dek 03iX Horizon screen printer, and accompanying Nutek conveyors, magazine loading / unloading systems.
Using a Linux real time operating system in conjunction with the PID controller, the operator can monitor the temperatures in each zone, as well as being able to check the belt operating speed which is displayed on a standard LCD monitor.
With temperature zones operating at both top and bottom of the oven, any differences in thermal mass of each printed circuit board will bare no effect on the overall profile, due to the low mass design of the interior of this machine.
The ability to store up to 99 individual profiles at any one time, ensures efficient programme change overs.
Tenkay’s production manager, Pauline Kelly explains the benefit for Tenkay.
“The Iemme Plus 14 came highly recommended to Tenkay. Before this oven arrived, Tenkay’s previous machine only had a mesh conveyor, but now the edge pin conveyor means that we can process double sided surface mount boards without the need of setting up jigs. The Iemme also comes complete with on-board profiling and a quick power up time of around 15 minutes. The overall set up time is much quicker than before.”
“Adding the Iemme Plus 14 was the final stage of up-grading our surface mount line, which consists of the DEK03iX solder screen the Ipulse M4e pick and place and now the Iemme reflow oven. This trio makes for an excellent efficient operating system, all of which have been European sourced.”
A NEW HORIZON
Sandwiched by Nuteks’ NTE0710UL P.C.B. magazine unloaders; Tenkays’ now fully automated production line consists of the DEK03iX screen printer; the established iPulse M4e pick and place machine and Novastars’ 2000HT 7 zone convection reflow oven. Nuteks’ variable width conveyors provide the seamless transition to and from each production platform.
Pauline Kelly, Production Manager at Tenkay: ” The addition of the DEK03iX system will enhance the overall performance of our surface mount line. As an ISO14001 certified company, we are very conscious of our corporate responsibility. This system eliminates the need for chemical cleaners by using a water-soluble agent to clean the underside of the screen / foil combined with a vacuum system . The increased efficiency of this machine compared to our previous screen printer, also improves our carbon footprint when looking at power usage, overall wastage and draw on external factors when requiring chemical input.
Pauline continues, “One of the great advantages of this system is that the installation engineer will also be Tenkay’s training and service engineer. An understanding of our needs and processes are established from day one!”
So does this mean that fewer operators are required? ” Certainly not. What it actually means is that the single person operator currently looking after this line can do so more efficiently. Tenkay have been able to invest in this automated screen printer due to increased work loads. It’s a necessary piece of equipment due to our success!”
The in-line screen printer is low maintenance and comes complete with an array of standards, which include the ‘DEK Instinctiv V9’ and ‘ISCAN’, (Intelligent Scalable Control Area Network).
VIABLE U.K. MANUFACTURING
Price sensitivity is always a key factor in any industry. Being able to pull all of the necessary disciplines together to ensure a sustained competitive manufacturing service, here in the the U.K. is another thing; but that’s just what we at Tenkay Electronics continue to do, right here in Sussex.
Director, Steve Dixon explains.
An all encompassing discipline here at Tenkay is our Total supply chain management solution. This was developed to give our customers the confidence that we will take full ownership of the entire manufacturing process; from procurement of all raw materials and components through to final assembly and test.
Offering a comprehensive Turnkey manufacturing solution, Tenkay believe that we are the ideal partner when looking for an efficient, professional company to produce your electronic assemblies. Utilising an established network of manufacturers and recognised franchised distributors, Tenkay only use components that have been specified on our clients bill of material, unless we have been asked to look at other available options.
Tenkay’s customer base is varied. Working within a myriad of industries over the years has resulted in Tenkay’s ethos. To offer recognised “best practice” approaches and solutions. Applying our knowledge to all areas of the business, whether that be in P.C.B production, wire harnessing, loom assembly, cabinet or panel building or indeed in full electromechanical build, we will always adopt an industry “best practice” method. Lean manufacturing, something that Tenkay has been recognised by it’s peers for, is a prime example of this and is something that can be adopted by any business to optimise the efficiencies of it’s processes.
Currently shipping fully tested and inspected products to over 20 countries across the world including Korea, Russia, China and Czech Republic and Saudi Arabia, all from our manufacturing base here in Sussex, Tenkay also utilise production options overseas. High volume and less technically demanding cable assemblies are best suited for this route. Products that require a high degree of technical ability and dexterity are produced here in the U.K. This balance allows us to offer an extremely competitive and economical pricing structure to all of our clients.
Business Edge (Sussex Enterprise) Aug/Sept 2011
PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF TESTING
Ensuring the highest production yield and quality standards of any product is always paramount for any manufacturer. This can sometimes prove to be a lengthy process in some areas of production, but predominantly with P.C.Bs.
Paul Barber, Quality Manager at Sussex based contract manufacturers, Tenkay Electronics
” Functional testing will only give our engineers a general idea of the fault; we then have to proceed with more involved diagnostic checks, which as we know can be very labour intensive and not necessarily cost effective to the company.”
” A part of Tenkay’s ethos is to continually look at ways in which to improve our already lean manufacturing process, together with providing our clients with a higher level of quality assurance. As part of this improvement, Tenkay have just taken ownership of the XJRUNNER from XJTAG. This superb piece of testing equipment now gives Tenkay the improved technology to incorporate boundary scan testing as part of our test and inspection procedures for printed circuit boards, where JTAG enabled components have been designed in.”
” Tenkay are already seeing the benefits of acquiring the XJRUNNER. The flexibility of being able to customise the tests for each JTAG enabled component for interconnecting conformance, speeds up the test and inspection process. This results in giving us better efficiencies and maintaining or improving product yield. The XJTAG system is very easy to install and is extremely user friendly, we’re very pleased with the results so far.”
The JTAG system is only dependant on the hardware involved, so up-dates to firmware can be performed without rewriting the test procedures. This decreases the lead time of product firmware development.