Manufacturers invest for growth markets
Connector firm invests in Hampshire-based manufacturing facility to support the growing military systems market and manufacturer Marl invests for LED lighting market growth.
In these days of economic uncertainty coming from the Eurozone, important UK markets such as military/aerospace and LED lighting are potential money-earners and manufacturers are investing in new production capacity.
Cumbria-based manufacturer Marl International plans to double its production output for the LED lighting market, while ITT Interconnect Solutions has made a £500,000 investment at its Basingstoke to set-up an assembly service for MIL-DTL-38999 specified connectors for the local military and aerospace markets
“We are seeing an uplift in the market for 38999 connectors and we want to offer shorter leadtimes,” ITT Interconnect product manager Robert Pulman told Electronics Weekly.
“This investment means we will have the complete connector assembly process, including RoHS-compliant plating, in-house,” said Pulman.
The company has reduced the number of internal parts and simplified the connector construction to make final assembly simpler and quicker.
“We have also redesigned the 38999 product line-up to simplify manufacturing which will allow us to reduce leadtimes and costs,” said Pulman.
The military/aerospace market continues to be a big focus for ITT in the UK.
“As well as this product redesign and investment in the local European assembly facility, we have recently been awarded silver status in the ADS SC21 programme which raises the performance of companies active in the aerospace, defence and security sectors,” said Pulman.
The Basingstoke facility is qualified to ISO9001-2008 and ISO 14001-2004 including an in-house plating line. In addition to QPL-qualified Cadmium olive-drab and silver Nickel platings, ITT also offers RoHS-compliant platings specifically for the European market.
Pulman also pointed out that the supplier’s in-house assembly service was not intended to replace similar services offered by its distributors. “It will complement and support services provided by distributors by making approved piece-parts more readily available,” said Pulman.
Other military and aerospace products that are assembled at the plant include MIL-DTL-26482, missile and ‘Nemesis’ connectors, to be used in future soldier systems, as well as high-current PowerLock, electric vehicle J1772, RF and high-density micro connectors.
Marl International has invested £150,000 to increase manufacturing output at its site in Ulverston, Cumbria.
“LED lighting can be 20-60% more efficient than standard lighting technologies, lasting up to ten times longer and providing an instant, controllable source of illumination,” said Marl managing director, Adrian Rawlinson.
“Marl is able to design and manufacture LED lighting modules entirely under one roof in Ulverston, which gives Marl a short leadtime, and the ability to bring to market the latest, most efficient LED lighting technologies ahead of competitors,” said Rawlinson.
The production line has been specially modified to handle PCB boards of up to 600mm long, which are commonly required to replace conventional lighting products.
The announcement brings the investment made by Marl in its UK manufacturing facility to £270,000 altogether.
Marl is not only ramping up its output of LED lighting modules that act as a direct replacement for much less efficient lighting technologies, but will also enter the electro-mechanical module assembly business aiming to match offshore pricing with quality, UK manufactured products.
Existing customers include the Formula 1 Association, British Energy and the British Waterways Board.
According to operations director, David Moorhouse, there are customers in the UK who would like to use LED lighting in place of less efficient technologies.
“But they lack the capability to assemble these very specialist devices and the associated circuits, we can fill this gap, often providing a bespoke product that is a direct drop-in replacement for the less efficient solution,” said Moorhouse.
Marl has experienced rapid, profitable growth over the last two years and has funded the investment from the cash that it has generated. In October 2011, Marl announced a £120,000 investment in its prototyping facilities.