UK electronics still going strong
You would be forgiven for thinking that the UK’s electronics industry is reeling from the recent recession. After all, the trend towards offshoring and the decline of electronics manufacturing in this country has been well documented.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The electronics industry is still very much alive and kicking in the UK, and the demand for British manufactured products is as strong as it has ever been.
Firms that once looked to cut costs by moving production to low-cost emerging nations are now returning to the UK as these countries’ economies mature and labour costs rise. According to a recent report from manufacturers’ association EEF, over the past three years, one in six UK based manufacturing businesses are now bringing operations back to British shores.
Not just a question of cost
But this is not just an issue of cost. Companies are increasingly looking to capitalise on Britain’s reputation for excellence and quality. This is compounded by an ability to create shorter, more responsive supply chains and the ease of communication with customers that being in the UK brings.
Many organisations are proud to say that their products are manufactured in the UK, and this is not simply patriotic PR. It is because of the long-standing association that British manufacturing has with quality, reliability and excellence.
In today’s throwaway society of overconsumption and mass-produced short-lived disposable items, you may well question the importance of quality and reliability in electronics manufacturing. However, there are many industries where well-built, reliable technology is essential.
A case for quality and reliability
Esprit Electronics is at the forefront of quality electronic manufacturing and provides a comprehensive range of Electronic Manufacturing Services supporting a wide range of demanding applications across a variety of diverse market sectors.
One example, which perfectly illustrates the need for quality, reliable technology is in the marine sector. Esprit provides PCB manufacture and in-circuit test solutions to YB Tracking for their rugged YB3 tracking device. The device is designed for operation in the toughest environments and often used in offshore yacht races across the world, including the Fastnet, Sydney Hobart, and the Volvo Ocean Race.
The impressive YB3 tracking device works far beyond the reach of WiFi and GSM networks, and automatically sends your position, and allows you to send and receive short messages from anywhere on Earth. The YB3 obtains a position using the GPS satellite network, and then transmits that position back to YB Tracking using the Iridium satellite network in a matter of seconds. The message is relayed to YB Tracking from Iridium, where they visualize the positions on an online map.
YB3 is the most robust and reliable satellite tracking system available, which many of the world’s leading yachtsmen rely on to track their position as they navigate some of the harshest ocean environments in the world. Being able to rely on such electronic devices can be a life or death situation.
Director of YB Tracking, Nick Farrell, said: “It’s important for us to have a supplier we can actually talk to, visit if necessary, in order to make amendments to our products as they evolve.
“We have used both British and overseas suppliers in the past, and we prefer by far to use British ones – although the unit cost may be marginally more expensive, if you look at the savings in communication time, shipping costs, and improved quality, it’s far cheaper to buy British.”