Business Unit Manager Teoh Ban Chong
“Automotive EMS presents a different set of challenges compared to other market segments,” Ban Chong said. “For example, although ESCATEC already has IATF 16949, we are still securing other international accreditations specific to the automotive industry to qualify us as a potential EMS partner to major car manufacturers. These include VDA 6 (German Automotive Quality Management System), which will allow ESCATEC to export to Europe.”
There are other standards related to the use of hazardous materials and environmental protection that ESCATEC together with its automotive supply chain will have to comply with, such as IMDS (International Material Data System), FMD (Full Material Declaration) , GADLS (Global Automotive Declarable Substances List), RRR (Recycling, Reuse and Recovery Policy) and others. “Car manufacturers may also have their own individual ‘customer specific requirements’ related to processes or product quality that their EMS partner must be able to satisfy,” Ban Chong explained. Many of these standards will also apply to ESCATEC’s automotive supply chain, and the Group is already helping its suppliers to do so.
Automotive EMS also relies much more heavily on automation, as production runs tend to be a combination of high volume/low margin, while product quality and safety are vital. “The high use of automation minimizes the possibility of human and material errors and allows standardized high quality to be delivered everywhere,” Ban Chong explained. “Furthermore, recent history shows that manufacturing defects can cost automakers huge losses in recalls, warranties and reputational damage.”
The risk and consequences of manufacturing defects have prompted automakers to require their manufacturing partners and their respective supply chains to have a highly effective “traceability system” that can track every single item, component, and raw material that goes into every product. “Car manufacturers are very strict about safety because people’s lives are at risk, so they want to be able to trace any failure that may occur in their vehicles back to the source and identify all vehicles, who may be at risk,” Ban Chong added.
ESCATEC Electronics currently has two automotive customers with one production line each. “We are already discussing with potential new customers,” Ban Chong said, “so we are planning new production lines, in addition to forming a dedicated New Product Introduction (NPI) team to serve automotive-related projects.