Winning against Asian competition


Circuitwise Electronics Manufacturing has won a new contract with global powerhouse Siemens and created a little bit of history in the progress – helping reverse the tide of electronics manufacturing being outsourced to Asia.

Circuitwise is to manufacture the printed circuit board assemblies for the Communications Module of Siemens Fusesaver and the Compact Modular Recloser (CMR). Both products are one of a kind.

Fusesaver is the world’s fastest vacuum circuit-breaker for medium-voltage (MV) outdoor power distribution systems and the CMR features integrated self-powering from line-voltage, a world-first technology.

In 2018 Siemens opened a new facility for its Australian Competence Centre of intelligent overhead switching technology. The new site houses production lines for reclosing devices, including the Fusesaver and Compact Modular Recloser. Both products are developed in Australia and exported.

PCB assemblies for the Fusesaver Communications Module were initially outsourced to manufacturers in two different countries in Asia. During a recent review of the production arrangements, Circuitwise was asked to quote. The review considered factors such as cost of freight, duty, the mix of high and low volume work, and speed to market. When the data was analysed over a three-year period, Circuitwise was found to deliver a lower overall price position.

Fusesaver ensures reliable power supply and keeps bushfire risk as low as possible

Siemens strategic procurement specialist Brian Usher said: “In addition to their competitive pricing, we found that the responsiveness and customer focus of Circuitwise made the case for manufacturing in Australia compelling.

“Requests for updated quotes were delivered within an hour and they were proactive in making constructive suggestions. We liked the dynamic and energetic nature of a young management team, along with the conscientiousness and dedication that comes with a family business.”

Circuitwise general manager Serena Ross said she was proud to be helping change the tide of electronics manufacturing being outsourced to Asia.“With the most advanced high-speed SMT production lines in place, we have known we were close to price parity with Asian manufacturers for some time now. It is pleasing to get confirmation from a company like Siemens”, Serena said. “

When you take into account the risks and inconveniences of dealing with Asian manufacturers, the case for manufacturing in Australia is becoming attractive for many original equipment manufacturers.”

The case particularly stacks up for high-value products that are subject to strict regulatory approval processes, such as those in medical, mining and aerospace industries. Manufacturers are typically required to have full traceability of components and absolute reliability that is not easily found elsewhere. “

Circuitwise has been investing in sophisticated computer systems delivering the reliability that cannot be matched by low-cost providers in Asia. Coupled with smart designs that minimise the need for manual labour, we are finding that more and more Australian companies are choosing to manufacture locally.” Fusesaver is the world’s fastest vacuum circuit-breaker.

Testing of the Compact Modular Recloser (CMR), the latest addition to Siemens reclosing portfolio

The device‘s protection algorithm detects a fault current, opens and clears the fault in as little as half a cycle (10ms). The device is self-powered from line current and can either protect or replace a fuse. Features of the system include multi-phase protection with grouped Fusesaver devices communicating with each other. The Communications Module provides a short-range wireless link and supplies a backup energy source during periods without line current.

Showcasing world-first technology, the CMR is designed to help energy networks in the fight against outages caused by transient faults. The lightweight device features integrated self-powering from line-voltage, a small footprint and the ability for wireless firmware and configuration updates, addressing a range of utility needs.

Circuitwise is a 100% Australian-owned contract manufacturer of electronic devices, specialising in complex products such as those used in the medical and mining industries. Situated in Bella Vista NSW, the company employs over 70 people.


Circuitwise Electronics Manufacturing, Sydney Australia

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