Acal BFI has thrown open the doors to a new UK Custom Services Centre at its Wokingham headquarters. The Centre is part of a £2m investment to increase the design and manufacturing added value the company can offer its European industrial electronics customer base.
Customers will be able to tap into a complete design to manufacture service across several technology sectors.
The investment is a response to what Nick Jefferies, Group Chief Executive at Acal plc describes as a “changing market populated by many more small and medium sized customers.”
These companies have an appetite for outsourcing sub-system design and a desire for custom solutions and aftermarket support, and Acal BFI’s penetration of this market from its traditional component distribution business model has made rapid progress to the point where component distribution now represents 35% of total revenues. Jefferies emphasises that right now most of the customers for its value added service have been existing customers. The challenge is to inform all its 25,000 strong European customer base about the new services and the company added more information in a new, comprehensive pan-European website in January.
The services on the menu at Wokingham feature connector assembly, an area where Acal BFi says it assembles the widest range of Amphenol connectors in the UK. “We produce about 75,000 connectors a year”, says David Gibbs, General Manager, Custom Services.
Low volume fibre and mixed cable assemblies are being designed and tested at the Centre. An on site termination service has proved popular at customers as diverse as London Underground, motorway speed camera manufacturers (feel free to boo here) and Royal Navy. Custom design and assembly of power units is based around the Vicor and Excelsys products and the service includes in house EMC testing. Other services include switch configuration, and mechanical assembly and kitting.
According to Gibbs the Centre is producing 300,000 units a year for 750 customers and has the capacity to run four times that volume. Wokingham brings the number of Acal BFi European Design Centres to four. Munich specialises in wireless products and imaging, Paris also concentrates on imaging while Frankfurt focuses on magnetics.


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