Flextronics designates $20 million for product-innovation center

By Roger Renstrom
Correspondent

Published: June 14, 2013 3:44 pm ET
Updated: June 14, 2013 5:07 pm ET

Image By: Roger Renstrom, Plastics News Zahid Hussain, site general manager of Flextronics' Milpitas, Calif., product-innovation center

Related to this story

Topics Electronics, Injection Molding, Design
Companies & Associations Flextronics International Ltd

MILPITAS, CALIF. — Flextronics International Ltd. has ordered two 110-ton Engel injection molding machines that will be placed with a manufacturing partner in Minnesota.

"In addition to our manufacturing partner in Minnesota, we have injection molding capabilities in Asheville, N.C., focused on the medical market, and also in Mexico, Europe and Asia," said David Jewell, Flextronics vice president for integrated communications and marketing.

Flextronics had thought about using the additional molding equipment at its Milpitas complex. The company opened a new "product-innovation center" there recently with advanced 3-D plastic printing, surface-mount assembly, X-rays and tests. The center also has restricted-access work areas for confidential customer trials.

Flextronics has invested about $12 million in the center, and intends to spend $20 million more for further upgrades.

The center's principal customers deal with consumer products, computer-server and storage devices, and industrial products, said Zahid Hussain, site general manager, during a plant tour. Nine buildings on the Milpitas campus occupy 280,000 square feet of space.

The company employs about 2,500 at Milpitas and other Silicon Valley-area locations: Morgan Hills, San Carlos and San Jose. The company has a global workforce of 200,000.

Hussain said the company has 350 customers within 50 miles of Milpitas. About 20 percent of those are startup firms.

Flextronics also has complete infrastructure to do product upgrades elsewhere. In Europe, a product innovation center is located in Althofen, Austria, and a design center in Milan. Both innovation and design functions exist at other sites in Zhuhai, China, and Guadalajara, Mexico.

The Milpitas operation in building No. 4 focuses on systems integration and lean methodologies such as a simple piece-flow concept. A wall sign reads: "The line that stops the most is down the least."

Building No. 8 has a Connex500 multimaterial, 3-D photopolymer printing system from Objet Ltd.

Using the technology starting in September, Flextronics will be able to turn a computer-aided, 3-D design into a plastic prototype in two to 14 hours, compared with about two weeks to machine a metal version. A 40-micron-thick layer of Objet's Vero-brand polymer in any of eight colors can be applied on each pass-through. After the resin cures, high-pressure water streams remove the structure's support elements.

Also in Milpitas, Flextronics produces solar-cell panels in a project for Sun Power Corp. of San Jose. Using Sun-owned equipment, Flextronics manufactured the first panel in December 2010. In that operation, equipment applies ethylene vinyl acetate coatings on glass, and robotic systems deal with layup require¬- ments.

The automated solar-cell-panel line in Milpitas employs 16. A previous Sun Power panel production location in Asia required 35 people.

Other recent Flextronics projects in Milpitas include a circuit board with a molded plastic housing for hybrid-car charging stations, a test bed with integrated semiconductor circuits for a medical customer, and components for automated retail kiosks for a major renter of digital media.

Singapore-based Flextronics primarily manufactures electronics. For the fiscal year ended March 31, Flextronics reported profit of $270 million on sales of $23.6 billion. The firm's main U.S. office is in San Jose.


Comments

Flextronics designates $20 million for product-innovation center

By Roger Renstrom
Correspondent

Published: June 14, 2013 3:44 pm ET
Updated: June 14, 2013 5:07 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Baxter investing $300 million to expand dialyzers production in Alabama

August 29, 2014 12:53 pm ET

Baxter International, Inc. is expanding its Opelika, Ala. manufacturing location to boost production of dialyzers, a key component of hemodialysis...    More

Image

Obituary: Jerry Williams, Prism Plastics co-owner

August 29, 2014 8:50 am ET

Williams founded Prism Plastics with Rod Bricker and Gerry Phillips, after the three left Huron Plastics Group in 1999.    More

Image

Updating a travel icon for the professional millennial

August 29, 2014 11:44 am ET

As part of a drive to expand its customer base to include more millennials, Airstream Inc. turned to the Columbus College of Art & Design's...    More

Polish injection molder Teknorubber up for sale

August 29, 2014 9:14 am ET

Polish plastic parts maker Teknorubber has been put up for sale following its insolvency filing in March 2014. The company is to be auctioned through ...    More

Image

Plastics News Now: Students set sail on PET boat

August 28, 2014 6:00 am ET

A toymaker moves production to the United States from China, an ice bucket maker takes the ALS challenge with a twist and students made a boat nearly ...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events