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

Plastics News Now: Robots, clear plastic cans at NPE

March 25, 2015 6:35 pm ET

We wrap our week of coverage of NPE 2015 with a look at a plastic can looking to replace tin, robots and the Freeformer.    More

Image

Wal-Mart: We want to buy American

March 25, 2015 3:41 pm ET

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is looking to boost the number of domestic suppliers as part of its 10-year, $250 billion investment program, according to the...    More

Image

Plastics News Now at NPE: Highlights from Tuesday

March 24, 2015 8:59 pm ET

The second full day of NPE 2015 has come to a close, and we check out all the highlights including a new robot from Sepro.    More

Image

Dock strike forces Nissei to scramble

March 24, 2015 9:44 am ET

Japan's Nissei Plastic Industrial Co. Ltd. wanted to think small for NPE, but something big got in the way — labor disputes at the U.S. West...    More

Image

Life lessons from the Plastics Hall of Fame

March 23, 2015 7:51 am ET

Eight new Plastics Hall of Fame members share their thoughts on their careers and advice for others in video profiles.    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

North America represents about 30 percent of the global consumption of flexible packaging. Annual growth in this region is forecast at 4 percent during the next 5 years.

For more insight on growth opportunities, drivers of growth and the outlook for 2015, download this report.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events