Creation Ships First We Share Solar Units

Creation team members first heard about We Share Solar when Diana Ferrari, Director of Central Engineering at Creation Technologies learned about a suitcase building event at St Agnes of Assisi, where her daughter Julia attends school.  Diana couldn’t stop thinking about how to help this program as part of Creation’s Making a Difference initiative and one phone call to We Share Solar Co-Director and Co-Founder Gigi Goldman and they both realized that it was a perfect match.

The VAVE engineers at the Creation Milwaukee Business Unit connected with Hal Aronson, Co-founder and Director of  We Share Solar, and discussed different avenues for creating a lower cost  educational kit, the WSS601.   Our commodity managers and Vice President of Commodity Management, Steve McEuen sourced and quoted the material and was able to create the kit at a price below We Share Solar’s target.

Once we agreed to move forward and quote the project for manufacturing it was turned over to Robert Flores, Business Development Director for Creation Express Services out of San Jose, California.  Robert met with Hal Aronson to discuss their cost expectations and timelines.   Robert also worked very closely with Creation team members Chuck Herman, Customer Focused Team Leader and Juanita Wright, Procurement Specialist to make sure the project went smoothly.     “What really helped to get the project quoted and into production was communication,” said Robert Flores. “I was in constant communication with Hal, and then Chuck, Juanita, and I were meeting on a daily basis to discuss any changes to ensure the project kept moving forward to meet the aggressive deadlines, and we made sure everyone involved was kept up-to-date.“  Chuck and Juanita both agreed communication was the key to success.  Hal had given Creation some very aggressive timelines for delivery which could have been challenging due to some long lead time parts.   Juanita was able to find substitutions for those parts with shorter lead times and while we had already exercised a VAVE to drive out cost, Juanita was able to find even more cost savings and the project actually came in under budget.

Wendy Cross, Program Manager with We Share Solar, which is the specific group focused on these cases, was very impressed with the team in San Jose.   “Once everything was approved we were in a time crunch to ship with the start of the school year.  Chuck and the team in San Jose were able to ship 30 kits a day.    We exceeded the estimated schedule and shipped out well over 200 in the first week,” said Wendy.

We Care Solar facilitates the international deployment piece.  The model is that each school gets 6-8 suitcases, they keep 6 and deploy 2.    Each year participating schools will fundraise to try and buy more.  The teachers are very excited to have humanitarian project based learning as well as an opportunity to learn about wiring and circuitry.    Currently most of the cases are deployed to Kenya and Uganda so students can have lighting giving them more access to resources.   We Share Solar works with partners in Kenya that do the installation work, liaison in terms of choosing schools and in addition can help with maintenance.

And there is more!!!  October 24-25 there will be a Creation We Share Solar training event in Creation’s San Jose Business Unit.  Creation representatives from various business units and Creation Design Services will be on hand to learn how to lead suitcase building workshops. They will eventually host workshops with children in their home cities. Look for future updates on these events!

Learn more at: https://www.wesharesolar.org/

Green Manufacturing: Signing off on Paperless

Human hand winner sticks of pile of paper, victory over bureaucracy concept

Advancements in technology has been eradicating the need for paper documentation for businesses across many industries.

Going ‘green’ and ‘lean’ are clichés in their own right, but the changes have become more and more apparent in recent past. We have already seen the publishing industry make the plunge to predominantly digital.

However, in the manufacturing sector, many documents are still processed the traditional way by being printed out. In most organizations, 63 percent of the paper being printed out are due to the need for signatures.

For example, when an EMS provider manufactures goods for say, a medical device company (or other companies in industries with specific protocols and laws), there is a large paper trail related to compliance and engineering specs that requires several signatures. By the time the process is closed, multiple printouts of the document (which could be over 50 pages if it has engineering drawings) have been signed, scanned and circulated to multiple people, possibly in distant locations.

This results in an abundance of paper records, which end up costing companies a significant amount of space, time, money, and in terms of the environment, trees.

The boxes and cabinets necessary to store all the physical documents not only take up space, but they are also inefficient. Locating files manually could take drastically longer than tracking the document electronically.

Manufacturers also have to factor in the time wasted in signing a document, scanning it and having to circulate to another person in a remote location to do the exact same thing. This is not even taking into account if there are revisions to the document.

The financial implications tied to physical documentation are higher than you might think. The average employee who has signing authority signs an average of 250 documents a year, which adds roughly $1,350 in annual paper-related costs. For large companies, this figure can easily exceed $100,000 per year.

Cost and Resource Reduction

Transitioning to paperless manufacturing lowers the cost of doing business for companies. It eliminates paper and ink expenses, it allows employees to focus on other tasks, and it frees up physical storage space that can be used more productively.

One of the ways manufacturers are going paperless is through digital signatures. Using services that allow companies to sign, file and distribute electronically can reduce the $1,350 per signer annual cost to under $100. It can also decrease paper consumption by over 50 percent, which is hugely beneficial for “green” companies looking to not only reduce overhead expenses but lessen their environmental impact.

However, going paperless can be a challenge for manufacturers. With a lot of industries like medical and security typically having strict protocols related to documentation, making sure that digital signing complies with regulatory standards can present some barriers. As a result, there are still companies and organizations that only accept ink-based signatures.

There are also costs to invest in the technology, including hiring somebody to run and implement it. Making the transition can also take time, as you migrate over from your past protocols. For some organizations, this can take up to a few years to fully integrate.

Eventually, all manufacturing facilities will operate 100 percent paperless, it just takes planning and the proper sign-off.

Smart Manufacturing for Smart Lighting Systems

Smart LED Lighting Systems require Smart Manufacturing Solutions
Smart LED Lighting Systems require Smart Manufacturing Solutions

Besides generating bigger electric bills, wasted lighting energy also takes an environmental toll.

Lighting  rivals that of light-duty vehicles for global energy consumption
Lighting rivals that of light-duty vehicles for global energy consumption. Source: Earth Policy Institute: http://www.earth-policy.org/data_highlights/2011/highlights15

Did you know? Lighting consumption has accounted for almost 20% of the world’s electricity demand.

Even more surprising: Lighting rivals the global automobile fleet in carbon emissions.

Modern, efficient fluorescent and LED lighting systems and technologies help dramatically to reduce waste and improve experience.

And thanks to M2M devices and IT automation, Creation Technologies’ OEM customers are now developing smart lighting systems that leverage the Internet of Things.

These forward-thinking lighting companies are changing everything.

 

Smart Lighting Systems

At their most fundamental, smart lighting systems use data to make automatic, real-time adjustments.

Light and motion sensors measure when and how a space is being used, and automated controls adjust light levels to match environmental conditions.

When daylight floods a room, for example, smart lighting can react and dim artificial light to maintain the same light level and reduce energy consumption.

Even better than their reactive capabilities, these same systems can also use predictive analytics to anticipate needs.

In our example room, smart lighting will recognize that there are greater odds of more artificial light being required when the room is occupied after sunset than at noon, and plan accordingly.

Smart Manufacturing for Lighting Systems

All contemporary lighting systems require particular manufacturing considerations and capabilities. Some examples:

  1. Materials Management:

    As semiconductors, LEDs come off the fab with a range of operating characteristics. (This is one reason why early LED products didn’t initially live up to their advertised life spans).

    Binning, or the testing, characterizing and classifying of each LED according to its individual performance characteristics, helps LED lighting OEMs and their outsourcing partners remedy this problem.

    To manage the complexity of LED binning; however, a manufacturer of LED lighting systems like Creation must have rigorous systems for procurement, incoming inspection and materials handling.

    The business systems used by the manufacturer must also provide detailed component and production traceability.

  2. Quality System Management & Regulatory Expertise:

    Lighting OEMs require an exacting level of quality for their high-performance products. (Imagine the disastrous consequences of significant roadway lighting failures).

    Their manufacturing partners building their lighting systems need quality management expertise that demonstrates compliance with whichever standards a product demands.

    These could include IPC-610 Class II, UL certification, or environmental regulations like RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances).

    One of Creation’s lighting systems customers in our Mexicali business unit, for example, measures us against the automotive PPAP (Production Part Approval Process) standard to ensure their products have industry-leading lifespans and performance ratings.

  3. Communications and Instrumentation Expertise:

    As smart lighting systems evolve and become more complex, Lighting OEMs will need to draw on the expertise of their outsourcing partners.

    Given the degree with which these lighting systems will need to leverage device-to-device communications and advanced controllers and diagnostics, the OEMs who choose a design and manufacturing partner that has the in-house expertise in these fields would be…

    Dare I say it…

    Smart.

We’d love to tell you more about what we’re doing at Creation Technologies to make manufacturing lighting systems more than just a shot in the dark! (I couldn’t resist). Contact us anytime.

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