Selective Supplier of Quality TestingFri, 09/01/2017 - 13:28
Consumers know that buying cheap can be more expensive in the long run. Test and quality leader Averna suggests that industrial companies should think similarly. Quality comes at a cost, which Averna justifies because its network is composed of talented individuals who are trained to help in very specific cases. “Being a global company means we have direct access to skilled engineers, many of whom are specialized in telecommunications, vision systems and RF signal-processing,” says Patrice Gosselin, Operations and Business Development Manager of Averna.
The Montreal-based testing and engineering company has offices in Canada, the US, Europe, Mexico and Japan that cover prototyping, test systems and products and precision assembly. While it has divisions in consumer electronics, telecommunications and aerospace, the automotive industry represents 15-20 percent of Averna’s global sales. “In Mexico, the sector accounts for up to 25 percent of what we sell,” says Gosselin. “We directly and indirectly supply OEMs, primarily working with Tier 1s and often within more than one country for each client’s production line.” Continental’s design team is among its global clients, for whom Averna tested the company’s active wheel-speed sensors. Averna also branches into the health sector, which draws parallels with automotive as the same high-technology processes are used. The quality was easy to transfer from automotive to medical manufacturing because the health sector is subject to strict laws.
Mario Nieto, Sales Manager Mexico of Averna, sees the automotive industry as most closely linked to electronics, however. “Seven years ago, an iPhone could not connect to a car but now the two connected entities can make calls, send emails, turn the air conditioning down and switch the engine on.” The same relationship is true for safety features, which is why Nieto considers the two industries to be comparable.
Averna has checked that electronics companies’ products enhance driver experience, improve vehicle safety and provide high-quality traffic and information services for as long as the market has existed. Its 15 years of experience seem insignificant compared to the history of auto part suppliers but in the realm of component and systems testing, Averna is a veteran and part of the list of companies boosting local manufacturing quality. Testing is becoming widespread, leading to the establishment of private facilities such as Intertek and Carl Zeiss’ new Demo Center in Monterrey. Research centers also take on the responsibility of quality testing, among them the Automotive Industry Development Center in Mexico (CeDIAM) and the High Technology Investigation Center (CIATEC). Private and public sectors contribute in different ways but both reflect the increasing participation of Mexico in design and engineering operations.
Integrating connectivity components also poses a safety issue to manufacturers. Beyond the normal difficulties of integrating any new technology into existing products, a system that can take control of a vehicle cannot fail. “The possibility of putting passengers at risk makes quality control even more relevant for manufacturers,” says Nieto. The installation and operation of connectivity must be validated by a company like Averna. “We do not miss a trick when it comes to finding faults in components but we are also careful not to reject good parts, as disposing of and remaking components implies a cost for our clients,” says Gosselin.
Big Data facilitates the integration of processes and Averna’s service dubbed Proligent Analytics specifically manages test results. “Reports are generated that fix processes and return data that can be used for further analysis of process quality. Proligent aims to eventually remove the need for testing,” says Gosselin, “and our systems are advanced enough to detect a faulty piece before it advances on the production line. Therefore, we can send a signal to fix machines before they repeat the error.”