News & Stories about ESCATEC
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New Fluoropolymer Coating Process Greatly Enhances PCB Protection
The ESCATEC Group continues to build up its technical and production expertise to better cater to growing market demand for higher quality electronics. The Group’s latest achievement in this regard comes courtesy of ESCATEC Switzerland AG, which has successfully introduced a new fluoropolymer PCB coating process that offers outstanding protection against moisture and corrosion. Moisture and other contaminants such as sulphur, oils and pollution, can degrade the performance of an electronic component and may lead to serious problems such as electrical shorts and device failure. At the same time, more brands are bringing out products with smaller and more complex PCBs using high-performance components and/or miniaturised components and such products place higher demands on electronic protection coatings. Having noticed a growing demand for more effective electronic protection – especially from customers in the medical equipment industry and those seeking ATEX compliant products – ESCATEC Switzerland recently tested and adopted the Novec 1702 Electronic Grade Coating technology from 3M. Technically speaking, the Novec 1702 coating applies a clear low viscosity solution of a fluorochemical acrylate polymer in a hydrofluoroether solvent. The coating is applied by a dipping process and dries to an ultrathin transparent film with very low surface energy and with excellent hydrophobic and oleophobic properties. This combination of characteristics makes the Novec 1702 an outstanding choice for protecting PCBs against moisture and other environmental pollution. Additionally, it also offers ease of application, reworkability and the ability to apply without masking or curing. “The Novec 1702 coating technology will be part of our standard process line-up and will be introduced to customers who request or require enhanced electronic protection,” said Veshalini Caggese, Business Unit Manager at ESCATEC Switzerland. She notes that ESCATEC Switzerland previously had to outsource the electronic coating process for customers that wanted it, which added to cost and lead times. By gaining the capability and expertise to do it in-house the company would gain from lower costs and leaner operations The introduction of the 3M Novac 1702 Coating technology at ESCATEC Switzerland was spearheaded by Engineering Manager Dr. Martin Muendlein. ESCATEC’s other business units – ESCATEC Electronics, ESCATEC Medical and ESCATEC Mechatronics – already have equivalent processes in place. Swiss-owned ESCATEC has a long history of providing design, engineering and manufacturing solutions to numerous world-leading OEMs. The Group has its HQ and four production facilities in Malaysia, while ESCATEC Switzerland based in Heerbrugg serves as the Group’s Design & Development Centre and advanced electronics production facility. Features of the Novec 1702 Electronic Grade Coating Technology at ESCATEC Switzerland: Designed for moisture and corrosion protection of PCB and electronic components. An easy and cost-effective alternative to conformal coating. Low surface energy surface with anti-wetting properties against liquids – water, silicones, hydrocarbons, etc. Helps protect against corrosive gases and vapours. Insoluble in solvents such as heptanes, toluene and water. Adheres to a variety of materials: metals, glass, ceramics, polymers, composites, laminates. Low viscosity solution especially allows coating under low standoff SMT components. Forms a thin and flexible film, allows coating of flex PCB without cracking. Due to low coating thickness (0.1 µm) connectors and test pads on PCBs can be coated. Coating will be penetrated during first usage or test needle contact. Easy to apply in a dip-coating process – dries quickly without the need for post-application curing. Allows reparability of solder joints. Thermally and electrically stable with good dielectric properties. Can withstand up to 175°C for 24 hours. Non-flammable, low toxicity and ROHS compliant. Photo 1 (right): Dr. Martin Muendlein, Engineering Manager, and Veshalini Caggese, Business Unit Manager. Photo 2 (below): Exterior view of ESCATEC Switzerland AG in Heerbrugg. Photos 3 & 4 (below): Production activity at ESCATEC Switzerland. Photo 5 (below): A PCB with the Novac 1703 coating displaying excellent hydrophobic properties against water droplets.
New 3D Printer Facilitates Production at ESCATEC Penang
ESCATEC recently commissioned an Ultimaker S5 3D printer for its main facility in Bayan Lepas, Penang, for use by Design and Process Engineers to facilitate rapid prototyping, proving of design concepts, and creation of jigs & fixtures. The nifty new printer – about the size of a large oven – is proving to be very handy for ESCATEC Electronics, ESCATEC Medical and ESCATEC Technology, all of which are based at the main facility. “It has helped us to speed up the process of designing and manufacturing a product,” notes Lin Ming Chin, Section Head Mechanical Design at ESCATEC Technology. Lin, who managed the commissioning of the new printer, said where previously ESCATEC may have needed to outsource some prototyping and/or jigs & fixtures to external suppliers, which would have cost more in time and money, the new printer enables ESCATEC Penang to do all of that in-house as and when required. “The end result is that production is running more efficiently (less downtime) and the engineers can also quickly produce prototypes to evaluate design quality,” said Lin. Netherlands based Ultimaker describe their S5 printer as follows, “Built to run continuously and maximize uptime, Ultimaker S5 combines dual extrusion, advanced connectivity, and an open filament system – ready to make 3D printing accessible for even more applications, from rapid prototyping to creating on-demand tooling and end-use parts”. Lin notes that while the S5 printer in Penang is proving to be useful and cost-effective, it is not as cutting-edge when compared to the 3D printing capability in ESCATEC Switzerland AG. ESCATEC Switzerland, besides being a production facility for advanced electronic products, also hosts the Group’s Design & Development (D&D) Centre and is the proud owner of a higher-end Stratasys 3D printer. The Stratasys printer provides ESCATEC’s D&D engineers in Switzerland the capability to combine a variety of colours and materials to create highly realistic and detailed prototypes. Such prototypes – essentially exact replicas of the final product - are invaluable in helping customers make decisions and hasten the process of design revisions, testing and refining. Both in Switzerland and Penang, ESCATEC’s 3D printing capability is a great tool that helps save valuable lead time and material costs for customers. Established in 1974, the Swiss-owned ESCATEC Group has a long history of providing design, engineering and manufacturing solutions to numerous world-leading OEMs. Photo 1 (at right): The Ultimaker S5 3D printer at ESCATEC Penang. Photo 2 below: Example of a manufacturing jig (the black plastic component) produced by the new 3D printer. Photo 3 below: The 3D printed manufacturing jig being used in production. Photo 4 below: Another example of a jig (the white plastic screw place holder) produced by the new 3D printer. Photo 5 & 6 below: The hi-tech Stratasys 3D printer at ESCATEC Switzerland AG. Photo 7 below: ESCATEC Switzerland hosts the Group's Design & Development Centre.
ESCATEC Ramps Up Business Development
Growth focused electronics and box build solutions provider, ESCATEC, has dramatically ramped-up its business development capability with the recent appointments of two new Directors of Business Development to its senior management team. Both appointees individually bring more than two decades of relevant experience in sales, marketing and business development – with emphasis on the European and North American markets – and are reflective of ESCATEC’s bid to grow its footprint in the global electronics manufacturing services (EMS) industry. Interestingly, both appointees were employees of ESCATEC earlier in their respective careers and this previous exposure will assuredly help them to rapidly come up to speed on ESCATEC’s current capabilities and target markets. The first appointment as Director Business Development is that of Martin Kingdon, effective 2nd January 2020. He is based in the UK and will focus on developing new customer relationships in the UK, North Europe and North America markets. Martin brings more than two decades of experience in sales, marketing and business development of contract electronics manufacturing, semiconductor devices, semiconductor IP and testing, and semiconductor manufacturing services. Over the course of his career, he has worked for several UK and European semiconductor/electronics companies and most recently was the Vice President of Sales at France-based Presto Engineering. Martin holds a Masters in Electronic Systems Engineering from the University of York, UK. The second appointment, also as Director Business Development, is that of Harald Schroeder and is effective 1st February 2020. With more than 20 years of experience in B2B sales, marketing and business development, Harald possesses a strong technical background with an in-depth understanding of supply chain and manufacturing processes. His career has included stints with Deutsche Telekom, Siemens, Plexus, and most recently as Director Business Development in Munich for the Season Group. Harald has an MBA in Industrial Marketing & Technical Sales from the University of Applied Sciences Landshut. In his current role with ESCATEC, he will be based in Munich to be closer to potential new European customers. Group Managing Director, Markus Walther, notes that the appointment of Martin and Harald together with other corporate initiatives such as more aggressive marketing and operational/quality improvements, will position ESCATEC to offer truly global coverage and outreach. Established in 1974, Swiss owned-and-managed ESCATEC is headquartered in the Bayan Lepas global electronics cluster on Penang, Malaysia. The Group has a long history of providing design, engineering and manufacturing solutions to numerous world-leading OEMs, and currently operates four production facilities in Malaysia and a production cum design & development facility in Heerbrugg, Switzerland. Photo 1 below: Harald Schroeder (in spectacles) Photo 2 below: Martin Kingdon
Risk Mitigation Measures Against 2019-nCoV outbreak
ESCATEC is dedicated to the objectives of being an exemplary corporate citizen and responsible member of the community. At every location it operates in ESCATEC places the utmost priority on Health & Safety, not only of its own workforce but also that of our customers, suppliers, visitors and local residents. It is incumbent upon us to do the very best to safeguard their wellbeing. In response to the continuing spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus – officially designated as the 2019-nCoV outbreak – ESCATEC has implemented measures with the aim of minimising the potential risks from the outbreak affecting the wellbeing of our employees, our production and all those who do business with us. The risk mitigation measures, as summarised below, are already implemented at all our facilities: Employee Health All employees are now required: I. To be screened for high temperature (fever) before entering the facility and to wear face masks on the premises. II. Not to come to work if they have flu-like symptoms and until they have had a medical check. III. Not to come to work for 14 days after visiting China or Hong Kong or have close family members who have visited China or Hong Kong. IV. All business travel to China and Hong Kong is suspended and all air travel limited to essential trips. All employees travelling by air will be instructed to wear face masks in airports and on planes. V. Additional health guidance is being emphasised to all employees, such as the importance of maintaining personal hygiene (e.g. regular hand washing, etc) and intensification of facility sanitary maintenance (e.g. frequent sanitising of door handles, stair rails, washroom taps, etc). Visiting ESCATEC The following risk mitigation measures have been imposed for all visitors to ESCATEC: I. No one who has visited China or HK in the previous 14 days will be admitted to any ESCATEC facility. II. Supplier visits to ESCATEC in Malaysia are not allowed unless in exceptional cases the visit is approved by the General Manager. III. Visitors to ESCATEC in Malaysia will have to undergo a temperature check on arrival and wear face masks when on ESCATEC premises. Kindly note the above requirements if you are visiting or intend to visit any ESCATEC facility. You are also advised to check the latest travel advice issued by your home country authorities in relation to the 2019-nCoV outbreak. As multiple ESCATEC production facilities and the Corporate HQ are based in Malaysia, kindly take note that Malaysian authorities have introduced additional precautions at all airports including a ban on flights from Wuhan and screening of travellers arriving from China. With the situation developing day-by-day, you are strongly advised to check for the most current advice and restrictions before you travel. Customers & Suppliers ESCATEC will inform all customers of the risk mitigation measures that have been implemented and will keep everyone regularly updated on any travel advice or further restrictions. ESCATEC is also conducting a “stress test” on its suppliers in affected regions to identify potential risks to production. Preventive measures - such as diversifying the supply chain and holding a higher inventory – may be implemented if necessary to mitigate potential risks to delivery dates. The measures summarised above may be temporarily inconvenient, nonetheless in this critical situation, it is undoubtedly most important to protect our employees, the wider community and the people and companies who have a relationship with ESCATEC. Any questions or enquiries regarding the above can be directed to email@example.com or by contacting Rajeshpal Singh, Corporate Marketing & Communications Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org; tel: +60 4 643 2554. Backdrop photo above: Malaysian Health officers screening passengers arriving from China. Credit: Mohd Rasfan/AFP. Photo 2: Common symptoms of the 2019-NCoV flu. Credit: Mikael Haggstrom, M.D. Photo 3 below: Medical staff treating a 2019-nCoV patient in a hospital at the epicentre in Wuhan. Credit: REUTERS
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