The largest developer and manufacturer of set-top boxes in Africa, Altech UEC SA, has expanded its capabilities with a R50-million investment to meet the continuing demand for terrestrial set-top boxes, satellite decoders and smart TVs.
Part of the expansion includes the installation of the Panasonic Surface Mount Technology (SMT) solution, an electronics assembly manufacturing solution that ensures high quality and on-time delivery and cements Altech’s ability to service the African and international markets as a superior and cost effective solution provider for the electronic manufacturing process.
The Panasonic Next Production Modular (NPM) pick-and-place installation is the largest in the southern hemisphere. Its advanced process intelligence systems allows for zero board transfer time, smart feeder monitoring and a 400 000 component placement per hour capability.
In addition to the electronics assembly equipment, the company has installed a state-of-the-art plastic injection moulding machine with robotic-controlled extraction for the plastic casings of the set-top boxes.
The machine is an environmentally sustainable investment due to its low power consumption compared to its hydraulic counterparts. Because of its servo controlled systems, it allows for hyper accurate repeatability and reliability.
According to Rajesh Ramkawal, manufacturing executive at Altech UEC, the upgrade investment has created an additional 120 specialised and sustainable jobs at the manufacturing facility in Durban.
“This investment is one example of our commitment to creating employment as part of the digital migration process and government’s overall job creation targets,” he says.
“We remain committed to the development and training of our employees, having sent a team of support staff to foreign OEM facilities in order to train on the new equipment. This has brought much needed technical acumen and expertise back into the local marketplace.
“This investment provides us with the capability to manufacture six million set-top boxes per annum and ensures that Altech UEC is well placed to meet current and future demand for set-top boxes and smart TVs,” he adds.