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Product category: Keyboards, Switches and other Human/Machine Interfaces
News Release from: Wasp
Edited by the Electronicstalk Editorial Team on 6 December 2005

Alliance produces cost-effective touchscreens

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A novel prototyping service combines with an established manufacturing relationship to overcome the traditional problems of sourcing low-cost Far Eastern touchscreens

Although some UK manufacturers are bemoaning the fact that a lot of manufacturing is heading East, Wessex Advanced Switching Products, the UK's only resistive touch screen manufacturer, reckons it has found a way of using offshore manufacturing to its own benefit. Having done all of the development work on a specially designed touchscreen for a major car manufacturer, resulting in a successful preproduction prototype.

Wasp knew that when it came to quoting for the massive quantities required for full production, they wouldn't be able to compete on price with the Far East.

The OEM however, knew that it had a touchscreen which worked and which only required Wasp's input to ensure that it got exactly what it wanted from the touchscreen supplier.

Aware that remote manufacture is not always ideal and that sampling can take a long time and quality is sometimes an issue, Wasp has invested in new equipment to cut both these problems out of the equation without forgetting the real reason that customers go offshore in the first place - cost savings.

The south coast company's most recent innovation is the provision of tail insert prototyping on touch screens prior to offshore manufacturing.

Tails are generally used when higher production volumes are required to obtain the most competitive pricing.

As a result, the screens have been manufactured in the Far East where ITO coated glass is readily available in high volumes.

The advantages of using a tail insert include reduced waste of expensive ITO coated materials and, as the tail is not cut from a complete sheet, standard tail lengths can be used to reduce costs even further.

The screen itself benefits because only two layers are required, resulting in improved visibility.

The addition of this new facility at the Emsworth manufacturing plant enables Wasp to supply prototypes quickly and much more cost effectively than using a Far East supplier direct.

This means that the customer can see and test the finished product before it goes into production far quicker than could be done by using a Far East manufacturer from the outset.

Wasp enjoys a business partnership with Far East manufacturer HanTouch and realises that several other UK and European distributors have similar relationships.

For this reason, Wasp is inviting distributors to use its new equipment and, when complete, place their own orders with HanTouch.

In addition to the speed with which this can be done, last minute design changes can be handled quickly and easily by Wasp's own design engineers.

Then, when the customer is satisfied, the touch screen can be shipped to the manufacturer as a complete unit which can simply be copied without modification.

Similarly, if the project only requires a handful of touchscreens, the prototyping service can be used as a manufacturing order for small runs.

Wasp's Sales Director, Derek Beecher said: 'Whether we like it or not, low cost Far Eastern manufacturing facilities are here to stay, so what we have to do is adapt and use the best points of both markets to achieve what we want'.

'We know that we can't compete on price for large production runs, but we can certainly design and prototype better and faster than our competitors, which means that manufacturers can go to test much quicker and then pass over the actual product that they want manufactured'.

'This takes out all of the guesswork and a great deal of time and frustration from the entire process'.

'Cost saving isn't just about getting cheaper components - because if they don't work, don't fit or don't arrive on time, where's the saving?'.

'As the only European manufacturer of touch screens to offer insert tail technology, we also have Far Eastern partners who will take the original prototype design and use it immediately for their production runs'.

'This gives the customer the flexibility to order prototypes in a shorter time scale and more cost effectively in the knowledge that production orders can be fulfilled quickly by our Far East partner at competitive prices'.

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