Definium Technologies

Definium Technologies

This post is a shout out to Mike Cruse and the team at Definium Technologies, the latest addition to the Australian Electronics Manufacturing revolution sweeping the country. Based in Launceston, Tasmania, Definium Technologies, have recently been awarded contracts to provide a state wide LoRaWAN network for Tasmania as well as products for the Australian mining industry. So far from struggling, smart manufacturing is growing strongly.

Mike Cruse, Definium Technologies
Mike Cruse, Definium Technologies

A recent project lead to Definium Technologies manufacturing the new Water Synergy Group Cellular connected smart water meter at a better price than they could get offshore. Their Electronics Product aimed at the Australian market was more cost effective to make locally. So another win for Made in Australia.

Water Synergy Group
Water Synergy Group

And below is an example of what this type of product looks like on the inside.

Water Synergy Group - NB-IoT Water Meter PCB
Water Synergy Group – NB-IoT Water Meter PCB

Beating China at its own game

Australia cannot compete with Asia, and China in particular, in the high volume, low quality, low complexity arena. The combination of lower economic structural costs and low labour costs combined with export subsidies means they can ship low grade, high volume at low prices.

Smart products are an entirely different proposition. And here we can both compete and win. But you have to go about the process the right way. Here is our formula for a successful Made in Australia Electronics Product:

  • spend enough on the design so that all stakeholders have a say
  • and so there is no production rework
  • and you select the right technology to reduce the overall cost
  • use tooling to reduce assembly effort
  • use automation for programming, test, calibration, serial numbering and tracking
  • use Internet of Things communications for field support including device management and preventative maintenance

So this involves ensuring all the stakeholders get involved in the process. In particular, production, service and sales often don’t get enough input in the design. Products can still cost you way after they are sold if you get this wrong. So get the Electronics Design right and you are track for a successful project.

Automated assembly example

The videos below show a pair of chained SMT automated loaders at Definium Technologies. This is a common arrangement to increase throughput. The first machine loads the larger number of smaller components, and the second machine loads the smaller number of large components. These are doing a dry run to confirm the programming is done correctly before the processes is committed to full scale production.

Juki RS-1 at Definium Technologies preparing for automated SMT PCB loading
Juki KE-3020VAL at Definium Technologies preparing for automated SMT PCB loading

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years.

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This post is Copyright © 2021 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

PCB Design For Manufacture

Design For Manufacture

Electronics products almost invariably have a Printed Circuit Board , PCB, on the inside. This is one of the most common things we do, designing the Printed Circuit Board on the inside on the product. Now designing a Printed Circuit Board so it works correctly is one thing, but if you are going to make them cost effectively in volume then you have to consider the manufacturing options at your disposal. To achieve Low Cost Electronics Manufacture requires every aspect of the design to be considered.

PCB Roach - an example of technology art

PCB Roach – an example of technology art

So the things to focus on are:

  • Use SMT as much as possible,
  • Reduce the number of components by using more highly integrated circuits,
  • Reduce the variety of components so the number of reels is reduced,
  • Ask the PCB loader about their standard panel sizes. If you can adjust the PCB size to suit them then it will reduce their costs,
  • Work with component types that the PCB loader can handle
  • Work with components that you can buy in suitable quantities

Ray Keefe has been developing high quality and market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. For more information go to his LinkedIn profile at Ray Keefe. This post is Copyright © 2011 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.