Member Profile

Nautech Electronics

May, 2022


Nautech Electronics have worked tirelessly for over 30 years to deliver their clients the high-quality electronic solutions they need. They use the very latest technology and Kiwi ingenuity to establish themselves as a world leader in electronics manufacturing and product engineering.

Recognising the marine industry’s growing need for electronics installation and service, Nautech was established in 1989 as a home-based business. They now operate out of a state-of-the-art facility with a team of 78 specialists. With an innovative and collaborative approach, Nautech focus on excellent service, reliable delivery, IP protection and competitive pricing. Today, Nautech continue to deliver their clients the world-class electronic solutions they need to succeed.

At Nautech, Quality isn’t just a process – It’s their philosophy.

Nautech has partnered with the EMA for the Callaghan Innovation funded Smart Factory Showcase as part of the Industry 4.0 Demonstration Network which launches in July.

Can you tell us a little more about Nautech and the customers you serve?
We manufacture for almost all industry sectors, from consumer to automotive, marine, aeronautical the way to defence and aerospace. We also design and develop products for customers as well as our own range of emergency warning products.

Can you explain what Total Quality Management means to Nautech?
TQM starts with management but is really a culture, it needs “buy in” from the whole team. At Nautech, all members participate in improving processes, products, services, and their own work environment.

What advances have you seen in manufacturing since Nautech was established in 1989?
So many! Back then, almost all electronics used thru hole components. We purchased our first wave soldering machine in 1996, and later that year, our first SMT placement machine. It was 2000 before we upgraded to the latest SMT machines. In 2016, we changed to selective soldering, hugely replacing the manual soldering process. There have been steady upgrades, especially in miniaturisation and speed, but the big leap was with Cobots and more recently 3D AOI technology, Industry 4.0 and connectivity. For Nautech, we need real time data, with all machines and systems interconnected and sharing information, this becomes fully automated and visual.

What impact, if any, has COVID-19 had on Nautech’s services, members, and staff?
We managed to keep the full operation running through all but the first lockdown. With the supply chain issues, we have seen a big increase in orders. Just in Time has gone, component lead times are now typically 52 weeks or more, so forward planning, scheduling and stock has increased significantly.

Are there any services Nautech were providing pre-COVID that needed to be adapted, or any services that have become a higher priority?

The only real change has been the lead time to manufacture, this has increased due to component lead times, unless you have stock readily available. DFM is becoming increasingly important so as to maintain efficiency as costs, especially labour, are rapidly increasing.

What does the future look like for Nautech?
Great! We have a fantastic team and more forward orders than we’ve ever seen before. We have the latest machines, systems and technology and are well placed to grow with our customers to help us take on more work.

What advice can you give to other New Zealand businesses / manufacturers who are about to begin their Industry 4.0 journey?

Start now, the sooner the better. Industry 4.0 is how you will gain efficiency and productivity through streamlined processes and automation, with MES it will give you greater situational awareness and predictive technologies.

How have Industry 4.0 technologies been pivotal in your journey?

We’ve always embraced technology and automation processes because quality and efficiency are key to surviving in our competitive market. Connectivity made sense as our ERP system connected to other systems and machines – each machine talks to the next. Then, we added Traceability, so every product and component is tracked and traceable, from stores, to assembly, AOI and final assembly testing. Finally, we added a Manufacturing Execution System (MES), so we had real time data, monitoring and displaying production status and QA results.

Tell us about your interest in being the Smart Factory Showcase host?

After a group of us travelled to Singapore to an Industry 4.0 conference, I was looking for MES systems. We found that there was a world class product made in New Zealand, sounds familiar! How many NZ companies travel the world looking for products and services that are right here in our own backyard? We thought we were ahead of the game, recently EMA / LMAC assessed Nautech using the SIRI – Smart Industry Readiness Index. The results showed that Nautech was above World Class, so it was time to help others and share our story.

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