On the Job: PLM Assists Environmental Law Compliance

14 Dec, 2005 Cadalyst

Top Taiwanese electronics maker extends PTC Windchill to help meet new regulations

After several years using PTC Windchill as its PLM (product lifecycle management) system, Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Primax has expanded its use of the system to meet new requirements for international environmental regulatory compliance procedures -- with installation and implementation testing of new capabilities completed in less than two months.

Ranked 84th of 1,000 companies in a BusinessWeek magazine survey of Taiwanese manufacturers, Primax produces goods such as optical-electronics products, computer peripherals, paper-handling equipment and communications accessories. As is the norm for Taiwanese high-tech manufacturers, Primax' business depends on the export of these goods. So when the European Union, China and various U.S. states announced new environmental-protection laws aimed at manufacturers of electronic equipment and related products, Primax officials knew that complying with these laws was an urgent issue.

Primax is one of the leading manufacturers in Taiwan.

Strategic Move
In response to these regulations and associated client demands, Primax began evaluating environmental regulatory compliance issues in late 2003. At that time, the company estimated that most of its clients would eventually have to satisfy environmental regulations. Consequently, the company realized it needed a strategic program to address environmental protection laws -- a program that would directly impact the company's revenue opportunity. The company opted for this systematic approach rather than a case-by-case approach, arguing that it would be more scalable and cost-effective.

Honda Lee, director of the Engineering Service Center, Corporate Quality Assurance Department of Primax, says, "Primax started using Windchill in 2000 as its PLM system. Subsequently, Primax began evaluating environmental regulatory compliance solutions from a variety of leading vendors. Primax found that extending the use of Windchill for environmental regulatory compliance was the quickest and most economical way to integrate environmental regulatory compliance into new product designs."

Chad Hawkinson, director of electronics and high tech, product and market strategy, PTC, adds, "Implementing Windchill for environmental regulatory compliance was a strategic corporate initiative for Primax, as almost every department in the company had distinct requirements. Providing a solution to help ensure that the company's more than 1,500 products and supporting material of tens of thousands of components meet current environmental requirements is quite an undertaking."


A model structure report and a lifecycle history report in Windchill PDMLink.

Real-World Results
Primax has been able to leverage its PTC PLM system to provide support for several key environmental regulatory compliance requirements, including:

  • Reducing the number of redundant parts used by different organizations;
  • Managing component identification, restricting substance survey collection and storage and testing reports;
  • Analyzing components for quantities of substances restricted by the European Union's RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) directive;
  • Searching bill-of-materials information and related material structure to determine compliance;
  • Identifying lead-free production procedures required for specific products and plants; and
  • Exchanging symbols and attributes, and collaborating with suppliers.
"Primax is also tasked by the challenge to recertify components, process tests, process controls and even redesign some products," Hawkinson says. "By incorporating environmental regulatory compliance capabilities with the Windchill-based PLM system, users are better able to manage the process and analyze products for compliance in real time. This helps save rework and improves time-to-market."