The Kontron ODM/EMS Alliance is a powerful association of medium-scale businesses and a highly qualified partner for redesign of electronic components. Its independent member companies specialize in hardware and software development and are experienced service providers in electronics production and assembly. The Kontron editorial team is pleased that Jochen Gimple took time out to answer some of our questions on the topic of redesign in the context of the current supply crisis.
MR. GIMPLE, IS REDESIGN THE LAST RESORT WHEN THERE’S NO WAY TO OBTAIN CRITICAL COMPONENTS?
Jochen Gimple: Anyone involved in today’s electronics industry, especially in purchasing and logistics of electronic components, has to deal with serious challenges almost daily. Either it takes a long time to obtain components, or they are unavailable, or they are discontinued, often without prior notice. So what can you do, because you still have to deliver your product? Rapid redesign can give you access to alternative components – it can be a workaround and an opportunity at the same time.
IS REDESIGN A WAY TO IDENTIFY HIDDEN POTENTIALS?
Jochen Gimple: Precisely. Redesign can open up a whole range of new opportunities. For example, it offers ways to optimize components in terms of manufacturing and adapt them to new technologies. You can also add new functionalities and substitute components that are approaching the end of their lifecycle anyway.
WHAT PRODUCTION ISSUES DO WE HAVE TO KEEP IN MIND DURING REDESIGN?
Jochen Gimple: During the layout process and later during sample production, we have to examine any issue that may lead to problems in series production. This means that we have to validate the manufacturability of the product, identify where problems might arise and how we can solve them. The development and production units have to work hand in hand on this. It’s important preparatory work that has a major impact on quality and, of course, costs.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE THE RESOURCES TO CONDUCT YOUR OWN REDESIGN?
Jochen Gimple: The Kontron ODM/EMS Alliance has plenty of highly qualified experts for development and design services, global purchasing and production and assembly services, and these experts also possess the required industry and technology knowhow. We offer our clients problem-solving competence for their needs regarding electronic components and systems. We can also provide a wide range of lifecycle services based on our SiliconExpert database. As a strong partner, we stand ready to take on our clients’ redesign tasks and the subsequent series production.
WHAT BENEFITS CAN CUSTOMERS GAIN FROM THE SILICONEXPERT DATABASE?
Jochen Gimple: Our SiliconExpert database contains critical information on components and provides an important basis for redesign projects. This information from our component library helps us make better component-related decisions and shows us the path toward possible component alternatives. For instance, it lets us determine the lifecycle stage of a product or whether it has already been discontinued. SiliconExpert is also an excellent way to handle second source aspects.
For additional information on the SiliconExpert database, please go to: www.siliconexpert.com
THE ALLIANCE IS PRESENT AT VARIOUS LOCATIONS. IS THAT AN ADVANTAGE?
Jochen Gimple: Yes, that is certainly a major advantage. Multiple locations mean regional proximity within Europe, making it easy for our customers to visit the productions sites. They also mean short supply paths, which many clients consider an important factor in selecting a supplier. The Covid crisis has shown, and continues to show, just how fragile our global logistics system is. In contrast, our locations in Europe offer many of our clients the regional proximity they want. Sometimes, our customers cooperate with multiple suppliers so as to minimize the risk of production shortfalls, but this means added effort and higher costs. Our Alliance offers the solution for precisely this problem: Redundant manufacturing facilities that eliminate the need for volume splitting and fallback suppliers.
WHAT OTHER SERVICES DOES THE ALLIANCE PROVIDE?
Jochen Gimple: The Alliance is able to provide everything from prototype to series production, from medium to high production volumes, from mounting and fitting to complex final assembly. And in addition to our own hardware and software development capabilities, we also have in-house resources for developing and producing test equipment. At Kontron, we do everything for our goal: To be a one-stop electronics shop for our customers.
Further information on the Kontron ODM/EMS Alliance: www.kontron-electronics.com