Integrated global teams meet rising customer expectations at industrial park in Guadalajara, Mexico
Guadalajara facility sets corporate-wide example for quality, shorter lead times and effective implementation of new technologies
Meeting increasing industry demands
Headquartered in Singapore, Flextronics is a leading Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) provider focused on delivering complete design, engineering and manufacturing services to a variety of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) markets, including automotive, computing, consumer digital, industrial, infrastructure,medical and mobile. Flextronics has been operating in Mexico since 1997 and currently has various facilities located throughout the country. The Guadalajara site is one of Flextronics’ nine global integrated Industrial Parks that provide complete endto- end product services across all segments and customer categories.
According to Everardo Esquivel, tool room manager for Flextronics Guadalajara, the original role of the tool room in Guadalajara was just to offer maintenance services to the injection molding industry. However, several years ago, when the company acquired NX™ software from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens PLM Software, the tool room expanded its services and began to offer integrated solutions to its clients – ranging from design, repair and maintenance to actual production. This enabled the company to grow at an even faster rate, given that it now had the capacity to pursue a variety of new projects.
Because of the industry’s fast-paced evolution in the last few decades, customers’ expectations keep increasing. A clear example of changes in expectations is related to lead-time. According to Esquivel, the average lead-time for a project used to be around 16 weeks. Today customers expect their order ready in about five weeks.
The tool room in Guadalajara relies on four designers. Using NX, these designers have been able to translate the conceptual tooling ideas presented by customers into workable molds and in effect, transform them into final parts and products in a very timely manner. NX gives designers the flexibility and adaptability to experiment and evaluate virtually, which means different mold concepts can be tested before going to the actual layout stage. This reduces lead-time significantly. Moreover, it provides Flextronics with the advantage of being out in front of its competitors. In addition, using NX, the company is continually reducing costs and improving quality. For example, Flextronics Tool Shop Guadalajara invested in cutting-edge machinery to continue its legacy of high-quality deliverables. Using NX CAM, the facility is able to fully leverage its investment by maximizing the throughput of its highly advanced machine tools.
The efficiency and quality demonstrated by the tool shop has put it in a position to attract orders from clients based outside of the region, which specifically request to have their molds developed by the Guadalajara facility.
Setting new trends
Flextronics Guadalajara is one of the first plants to be able to effectively manage the in-mold labeling (IML) process,meeting customers’ new demands of shorter time and bigger orders. IML applies a static charge to hold the label in the injection mold and eliminates the need for vacuum ports that add significantly to the cost of making and maintaining the tool. Applying the label during molding eliminates a secondary step for pad or screen-printing or label application, as well as corona or flame treating.More importantly, the end result is permanent. IML is also cleaner and more sanitary because there is less handling of the product.
“We are proud to say that we have mastered the IML technique and in part we did it thanks to the effort and the possibilities that NX provides us," says Esquivel. “Molds that we have developed are now being used in Europe, China and USA, to name a few countries.”
NX is helping Flextronics Guadalajara to expand its service portfolio from just maintenance to fully integrated design, engineering and manufacturing solutions. The facility has gone on to become an industry leader in the areas of lead time and quality and it continues to set an excellent example of how to incorporate new technologies into its service portfolio.