tal expenditure for this first phase exceeded £1m ($1.5m) on plant and equipment to further enhance the quality and quantity of the company’s manufacturing output at its Blaydon, UK headquarters. Expenditure has covered increasing capacity, with the purchase of two new laminating machines, another flatbed washing machine to ensure the glass is crystal clear, and additional plotters, bonders and a new CNC router.
Zytronic has also invested in equipment to make the manufacturing process more efficient, including new robotic equipment, configured around a camera-based system, to enable more accurate placement of some of the integral electronic components. Additionally, new conveyor systems have been installed to move ultra large form factor glass touch sensors, up to 84 inches across, out of the clean rooms. The larger segment of the clean room in the main factory erected in 2001 has been refurbished to a higher standard and extended significantly.
Phase two, which should be completed during 2013, involves three aspects of expansion. The first, which was completed during April for £100k ($150k), involved the substantial expansion of the Research and Development (R&D) operational facilities, giving the R&D team much better and larger accommodation for manufacturing samples and testing new touch technologies and system enhancements. It includes a substantial clean room and an EMC testing facility.
The second aspect of phase two for £80k (US$120k) is expected to be completed in June. It involves the substantial upgrade to the screen printing facilities within Zytronic, including the installation of a new semi-automatic screen printing machine to accommodate the printing of touch sensors up to 60 inches across, and matching Zytronic’s internal thermal tempering capabilities.
The third aspect of phase two is expected to begin much later this year and will involve the replacement of the original section of the main factory clean room - first erected in the 1980s- with a substantial new one. This again expands Zytronic’s touch sensor productive capacity further. The final part of phase two is budgeted at £400k ($600k) and, when completed, will result in Zytronic having replicated the highest standard of clean room in two of its three factories, enabling even greater efficiency and flexibility in touch sensor manufacturing.