Paramit Corporation is the zero defect manufacturer of medical devices. At the end of 2016, the US company opened its second presence in Malaysia, where five Ersa soldering systems ensure uncompromising top quality soldering.

User report | published in: EPP EUROPE 11/2017
Author: Ulrich Dosch

The Paramit Corporation is the California-based “zero-defect” manufacturer of high-end medical equipment. In November 2016, the US company opened its second facility in Malaysia, doubling its capacity in Southeast Asia. Like the headquarters in the US, the “factory in the forest” strives for a quality of product and equipment that is “better than best-in-class”. For uncompromising top quality in soldering, Paramit now calls on five Ersa systems: 2x wave, 2x reflow, 1x selective.

Customers who have their medical devices manufactured by the Paramit Corporation from California don’t just get products which comply with the strict criteria of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – they get a lot more besides. Paramit founder and CEO Billoo Rataul puts it like this: “Quality is decisive, but the Paramit experience goes much further: The motor for our corporate culture is the passion for constant improvement and smart problem-solving approaches. We consistently supply our customers with superb performance and peace of mind. Over many years, the Paramit team has developed an outstanding production standard by concentrating on printed circuit board production at Six-Sigma quality levels, combined with the patented vPoke system which enables defect-free mechanical assembly. This computer-directed system breaks down assembly and testing of a complex product into hundreds or thousands of process steps, each of which is validated, verified and documented. In assembly, Paramit comes very, very close to the zero-defect ideal – at a rate of under 1 DPMO (defects per million opportunities)! With a sophisticated 100% inline soldering process layout, 3D inspection of the soldering paste application, fast machine set-up for high-mix environments, multiproduct-single-setup algorithms, automated inline inspection and process validation, Paramit achieves an almost unbelievable quality level of 10 DPMO – by comparison: the highest IPC standard achieved in a high-mix low-volume environment is 30 DPMO.

Zero-defect approach, extreme performance

In addition to the current product range, Paramit will increasingly focus on medical devices in its new forest factory in Malaysia – of course the same zero-defect approach applies here as in the US, supported by a perfect mix of quality in SMT production, 100% just-in-time delivery of finished products and an efficiency level exceeding even the high Six Sigma specifications. From the ground up, the facility in Penang Science Park replicated the design, concept and function of the US headquarters in California – of course with the seamless integration of the company’s own performance processes to better than best-in-class level in terms of quality, adherence to delivery schedules, customer service and costs. The idea of an environment-friendly factory, perfectly adapted to the Malaysian climate, originated with the Paramit CEO, Billoo Rataul – the holistic concept and the design of the building were supplied by a French architect. Everything addresses environment-friendly energy efficiency – from the in-slab, water-based cooling system, to the climate-regulating effect of the shade created by the canopy of trees. The numerous plants are irrigated using rainwater collected in huge tanks located under the car parks. In addition, energy-saving LED lamps are used and the production facility supplied primarily with natural light through large-scale windows. The Malaysian Paramit facility combines this environment-friendly approach with an open office concept with gardens and waterfalls on multiple levels and meeting spaces which, as required, provide more space or allow employees to work undisturbed.

The new 15,000 m2 factory is said to be Malaysia’s largest facility for the production of complex medical devices, realising sophisticated systems for genetic and molecular testing, robotic surgery and cancer treatment. Existing customers for whom Paramit produces industrial products such as gas and fire protection systems, electrical and digital measuring devices, automotive heating elements and agricultural management applications, also benefit from the additional capacity. “Our expansion in Asia allows us to provide more sophisticated and tailored offerings to our regional customers – bringing new levels of speed-to-market and peace of mind to our customers,” says the Paramit CEO on the strategic orientation in the Malaysian market, which is enjoying a particular boom in the medical devices industry – laterally displaying double-figure growth rates.

The greenest production in Malaysia

Back to the core of what is probably Malaysia’s greenest factory, the Paramit Malaysia manufacturing facility: “Of course we were familiar with the concept of our new factory. But moving our 50 plant systems within just one day was still a major challenge. Nonetheless, we succeeded in setting up very quickly – with everything running smoothly within just one week,” says Chong Chit Leon, Section Manager Equipment Engineering at Paramit Malaysia. All production processes at Paramit are subject to the highest standards – with the use of smart information and communication technology such as automatic optic inspection (AOI) in order to uncover and eliminate any possible defects. “Our aim is to engage in dialogue with our customers at a very early stage in the product and board designs – allowing us to make our extensive engineering know-how available for efficient production. In this way, we achieve speedy new product introduction and a shorter ‘time to market’, which is more economical for both sides,” adds Chong Chit Leon. Paramit Malaysia is increasingly relying on the support of system supplier Ersa – since entering the market in 2011, those responsible for production have ordered soldering systems for different requirements through the Singapore-based Ersa representative Long Shine Equipment and Supplies Pte, which also looks after the Malaysian market. “For us as sub-contractors, the greatest benefit of the Ersa equipment is that it permits high-mix in every direction – for example, our Ersa POWERFLOW N2 full tunnel nitrogen wave soldering plant can handle all types of products. This gives us great flexibility in our manufacturing,” says Chong Chit Leon. With the strategic focus at Paramit Malaysia increasingly moving to medical devices and life science instruments, and corresponding customer inquiries having been received, more intensive attention was paid to selective soldering. Because this flexible and high-performance soldering technology fulfils all the criteria laid down for the high quality standards applying in medical devices. Three companies were shortlisted during the purchasing process; in the end, the contract went to Ersa – specifically, the order was for a VERSAFLOW 3/66 selective soldering system. In addition to the performance capacity of the plant, the link-up to corresponding service and support was a significant deciding factor – in addition, the Paramit team had already seen and thoroughly tested the Ersa systems in the Ersa showroom in Penang.

Soundly-based expertise for the soldering process

At present, Ersa’s worldwide presence is not all that decisive. In Malaysia, the main focus is on industrial products, with the recent addition of medical devices. Contact is mainly through the Long Shine representative in Singapore. “When it comes to the Ersa soldering expertise and constantly improving our processes, we work closely with the colleagues from Long Shine who are thoroughly familiar with the processes of the Ersa equipment,” says Chong Chit Leon. In order to maintain the good business relationship among the partners – Paramit, Long Shine, Ersa – it is also extraordinarily important that wear and spare parts for first and second level support be available directly in Malaysia. If the worst comes to the worst, Paramit needs immediate support as no spare parts are stocked on site. That would be too expensive and the “right” spare would probably not be available right away. The Paramit team knows that, with the comprehensive process solution as offered by Long Shine and Ersa, they are always on the safe side – first class service and support are definitely of the essence. As a global player, Ersa is undoubtedly a good partner for Paramit when it comes to further expansion plans!

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