Business Unit Manager Teoh Ban Chong
“Automotive-related 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 in the process of obtaining other automotive-specific international accreditations to qualify us as a potential EMS partner of major automotive manufacturers. These include VDA 6 (German Automotive Quality Management System) which will allow ESCATEC to export to Europe.
There are also other standards related to the use of hazardous materials and environmental protection, which ESCATEC and its automotive supply chain will have to comply with, such as IMDS (International Materials Data System), FMD (Full Materials Declaration), GADLS (Global Automotive Declarable Substances List), RRR (Recycle, Reuse and Recovery Policy) and others. “Automakers may also have their individual ‘customer specific requirement’ related to processes or product quality that their EMS partner must be able to meet,” 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 on automation, as production runs are typically a mix of high volumes and low margins, while product quality and safety are vital. “Extensive use of automation minimizes the possibility of human and material errors and helps deliver standardized high quality at all levels,” Ban Chong explained. “Furthermore, recent history shows that manufacturing defects can cause huge losses to automakers in terms of recalls, warranties and loss of reputation.”
The risk and consequences of manufacturing defects have prompted automakers to require their manufacturing partners and respective supply chains to implement a highly effective “traceability system” that can trace every incoming item, component and raw material. in every product. “Automakers are very strict about safety because people’s lives are at stake, so they want to be able to trace every defect that may occur in their vehicles back to the source and identify any vehicles that may be in danger,” said added Ban Chong.
ESCATEC Electronics currently has two automotive customers with one assembly line each. “We are already in discussions with potential new customers,” Ban Chong said, “so we are planning new assembly lines in addition to forming a dedicated NPI (new product introduction) team to serve projects related to the automobile.